Monday, December 27, 2010

HHS Secretary Shecantbeserious on OTC: "Shut up, that's why"

As Bob recently noted, HHS Secretary Shecantbeserious has decreed that going forward, OTC (Over The Counter) med's may be eligible for FSA/HRA/HSA reimbursement only if they're accompanied by a prescription. In her original missive, Ms Shecantbeserious further prohibited the use of debit cards to purchase tax-qualified OTC med's (as to why she hates convenience, you'll have to ask her directly).

Now, thanks to alert reader and FoIB Jeff M, we learn that Kathy's backed off on her plastic-prohibition:

"The IRS last week backed off an earlier rule for next year that prohibits flexible spending and health reimbursement account holders from using debit cards to pay for over-the-counter drugs that now need a prescription."

Now, you may be wondering why I said "HHS Secretary Shecantbeserious has decreed" when, in fact, the IRS is the agency which has "backed off" the rule. The reason is that, in this instance, the IRS is simply the enforcer of the rules laid down by the Madame Secretary; it is at her feet that we lay the ultimate blame for this silliness.

Oh, you may also be wondering about the title of this post. It's pretty simple: in his email, Jeff M asked "If the product is available OTC, then why would someone need a prescription?"

And there's your answer.
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