November 20, 2010 — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act imposes new restrictions on flexible spending accounts (FSA) that your patients may ask you about.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2011, FSA participants will be required to provide their FSA with a doctor’s prescription to be reimbursed for over-the-counter medication costs. Prior to 2011, over-the-counter medications were covered by FSAs without doctor’s prescriptions.
Consumer groups argue that this change creates an unnecessary burden on both doctors and consumers. Consumers looking to spend pre-tax dollars on items like everyday pain reliever or heartburn medication might spend more in the long run on doctor’s appointments needed to obtain the prescription.
More detailed information about this change is available here.
Additionally, beginning in 2013, the limit that employees can contribute to an FSA will be capped at $2,500, which has sparked criticism by consumer groups that believe patients are being imposed upon to limit their own healthcare costs, which might lead to forgoing medical treatment.
Consumer groups argue that working-class Americans will be hit the hardest by this limit, as FSAs are ideal resources for those who need financial breaks to cover large medical expenses, ranging from chronic diseases to dental braces.
Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.org