Facing a Jan. 1 effective date, industry groups and Democratic Congressman Earl Pomeroy are urging the U.S. Treasury to immediately clarify a new health reform law that will change the way over-the-counter drugs can be purchased with tax-advantaged spending accounts like FSAs.

The impending law will require consumers to obtain a physician's prescription before they can buy OTC medication using their flexible spending account, health spending account, health reimbursement account or Archer Medical Savings Account (the purchase of insulin is excluded).

The provision will take effect soon, but groups say the new regulation is still fuzzy on certain compliance issues. For example, according to an industry group responsible for establishing standards for electronic payment processing for HSAs, the law currently states that only "prescribed" OTC drugs are eligible for reimbursement; however, it does not specify whether a prescription is required or if a letter of medical necessity will suffice.

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