Making it difficult for consumers to cover the costs of over-the-counter (OTC) medications doesn't make sense at all. Yet, included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a rule that requires those with FSAs, HSAs and HRAs to obtain a doctor's prescription to use their accounts to cover the associated costs. 

When this idea first came up, I worked hard in association with Save Flexible Spending Plans ( to argue why it shouldn't be adopted.  Problems with the rule include a lack of clarity (doctors, pharmacists and patients are all confused about how to comply) and functionality (patients seeking prescriptions for medicines already available over-the-counter may drive up health care costs by increasing office visits).

While the OTC rule is in place, I'm pleased to report that the fight to repeal it is picking up speed.

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