Healthcare News & Insights

FSA reimbursement for OTC meds is getting easier

There’s new help for patients (and even employees) who want to have their OTC medications reimbursed through health care flexible spending plans. An IRS rule change this year means that over-the-counter medications can’t be reimbursed through flex spend plans — unless their bought under a prescription.

Of course, getting a prescription for an OTC medication sort of defeats the purpose of it being available OTC.

While patients can have their doctors write prescriptions to submit with their receipts for reimbursement, that’s more time and energy spent by both the patient and the doctor. And for mild conditions that don’t require the patient to see the doctor but do require medications (low level chronic pain, well-controlled asthma, mild allergies, etc.) it may mean an extra doctor visit — and co-pay — in order to get the prescription to get reimbursed.

Efficient it’s not.

In fact, because of the extra hoop-jumping, many people just don’t bother with the reimbursements any more.

But a new service is attempting to make it easier to get the prescription without spending extra time and money in the process. is an online store that sells only FSA-eligible items. It now offers customers a service where they can shop with the FSA debit cards that some employers provide and at checkout, the company will automatically flag anything for which a prescription is needed.

Customers can provide their doctor’s contact info and an FSAstore pharmacy partner will get in touch with the doctor to get a script. Another option is for the customer to call the doctor themselves and direct them to send the script directly to the store.

These alternatives are only good, however, for customers using FSA cards. If they’re paying out of pocket, they’ll still have to get the script and submit it with the receipt for reimbursement.

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