New laws may affect Health Savings Account payments

New laws may affect Health Saving Account payments

Recent changes to health care laws will affect the medication you can purchase using your health savings account. 

In the future, you will need a prescription to receive reimbursement for purchases of many over the counter drugs, like cold medicines and pain relievers.  If you need to purchase medications that normally would require a prescription, like insulin or blood pressure medication, it will not be affected by the new law.

According to the IRS, there is no way to prove the over the counter drugs were prescribed.  So in the future you will not be able to use your HSA debit card to make these purchases.  Should you request a reimbursement for medical expenses that were not issued by prescription, it will be considered taxable income and you could have to pay an additional 20% in taxes.

According to Robert Zirkelbach, America’s Health Insurance Plans spokesman, the new laws create “unintended consequences.”  He said, “It creates unnecessary hassles for consumers and provides the wrong kind of incentives.” 

These changes could end up costing consumers more money because they won’t be able to buy the medicine they need at the price they can afford.

By January 1, 2013 the Affordable Care Act will enforce there new rule to limit the pre-tax contribution to $2,500.  Right now there is no limit to how much you want to contribute to a HAS, but an employer can set a limit if they choose to.  In 2014, they hope that they can expand coverage. It is hoped that setting these limits will help pay for the provisions to accomplish the health reform goal.

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