In early 2010, Congress passed historic health care legislation that aims to provide health care coverage to more Americans. Throughout health care negotiations, members of Congress offered hundreds of solutions to address the biggest challenge of reform efforts: how to pay the $1 trillion price tag.
From the outset of health care discussions, some policy makers viewed eliminating the use of flexible spending accounts (FSAs) as a way to fund a small portion of health reform costs. Thankfully, FSAs emerged from health care reform virtually unscathed, with two slight changes to the benefit.
First, as of January 1, 2011, FSA participants are required to obtain a physician’s prescription in order to use FSAs to pay for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines other than insulin. Fortunately, this change does not prohibit individuals from using their FSAs to obtain the OTC medications they need, it just requires participants to perform the extra step of getting a prescription. Second, while there has previously been no individual contribution limits to FSAs, beginning on January 1, 2013, there will be a federally imposed $2,500 limit on FSA contributions.
In today’s environment where health care premiums and other medical costs seem to be increasing on an almost daily basis, we will continue ensure that FSAs remain available for all of us who rely on them to keep ourselves and our families healthy.
For more information on the impact of health reform legislation on FSAs, visit www.savemyflexplan.org.