Consumers Win with Recent Bills to Restore OTC Eligibility Under Tax-Preferred Healthcare Accounts

Bi-Partisan, Bicameral Change to the Affordable Care Act Would
Provide Cost-Savings for Consumers

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) applauds the
introduction of bipartisan, bicameral legislation in the U.S. Congress
that would restore the ability of consumers to use their tax-preferred
flexible spending arrangements (FSAs) and health savings accounts (HSAs)
to purchase over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. The legislation,
“Restoring Access to Medication Act (RAMA) of 2017” (H.R. 394 and S.
85), was introduced in the Senate by Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and
Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), and in the U.S. House by Representatives Lynn
Jenkins (R-Kan.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.).

OTC medicine eligibility in tax-preferred accounts was removed in 2011
as one of the first-implemented provisions of the Affordable Care Act
(ACA). Since that time, CHPA has been leading a broad national coalition
– the Health Choices Coalition (HCC) – advocating for restoration of
this important consumer benefit. The HCC includes consumer advocates,
policymakers, physicians, dentists, retailers, pharmacies, pharmacists,
insurers, drug manufacturers, and various employers.

“Americans are being asked to fund more of their healthcare expenses
through higher deductibles and copays, so it’s more important than ever
that cost-effective OTC medicines are treated the same as other eligible
medical expenses in tax-preferred healthcare accounts,” CHPA President
and CEO Scott Melville said. “Restoring OTC eligibility under FSAs and
HSAs will help the more than 50 million consumers who use these accounts
and who are looking to take greater ownership of their own health
through responsible self-care.”

Americans depend on OTC medicines as a first-line option for meeting
family healthcare needs, and these medicines provide a safe, effective,
affordable, and convenient means to alleviate the symptoms of minor to
moderate ailments. More than 90 percent of Americans prefer to seek
treatment with OTCs before seeing a healthcare provider, and nearly 90
percent of the physicians and pharmacists recommend that patients
self-treat with OTC medicines before seeking physician care. Self-care
with OTCs helps reduce unnecessary doctor visits, reduce lost time from
work, and provide a significant cost advantage for consumers. According
to a study conducted by CHPA, OTCs save consumers and the healthcare
system $102 billion each year, and for every dollar spent on OTC
medications in the U.S., the healthcare system saves $6 to $7.

To learn more about the benefits of OTC eligibility in tax-preferred
accounts, and to learn how to support this legislation, visit

The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) is the
136-year-old national trade association representing the leading
manufacturers and marketers of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and
dietary supplements. CHPA is committed to empowering self-care by
preserving and expanding choice and availability of consumer healthcare


Consumer Healthcare Products Association
Mike Tringale 202-429-3520