Dietary supplement

Biparty legislation seeks to expand access to dietary supplements through HSA and FSA coverage

Representatives John Curtis (R-Utah) and Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jersey) introduced a new bill (HR 5214) that “would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow spending on savings accounts- healthcare, flexible spending arrangements and healthcare reimbursements. provisions for food supplements. More specifically, the law amends the code to treat sums paid for dietary supplements as sums paid for medical care, and therefore allows dietary supplements to benefit from reimbursements from flexible spending plans and health reimbursement plans. A similar bill was introduced to the Senate in May (S. 1654) by Senator Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), but made no further progress.

Industry groups applauded the newly introduced bill, having long advocated for the recognition of dietary supplements as eligible medical expenses for health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts. “Expanding access to supplements benefits everyone,” said Daniel Manufacturer, PhD, president and CEO of The Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, DC), in a press release. “It is clear that we are not yet out of this pandemic, and it is a common sense solution. We urge our members to reach out to their elected officials in Washington and let them know how important expanding access to dietary supplements is to the health of their constituents. We would also like to thank Reps Curtis and Gottheimer and their staff for their support and willingness to expand choices for the hundreds of millions of Americans who use supplements to stay healthy during these difficult times.

The NPA also advocated for the inclusion of dietary supplements as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). In addition to HSA and FSA coverage offering cost savings to consumers, SNAP and WIC coverage would expand access to dietary supplements to some of the country’s most underserved people and provide nutritional support where access to food options. nutritional value is scarce.

“We believe in encouraging healthy behaviors and empowering consumer choice,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, DC), in a statement. Press. “Dietary supplements are cost-effective measures to manage and improve health and wellness that can save taxpayers hundreds of millions – and in some cases billions – of dollars in healthcare costs.”

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers were increasingly health conscious and began to take a more proactive approach to prevention and wellness. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly 60% of Americans take dietary supplements each month, ”said Scott Melville, president and CEO of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA; Washington, DC). “Extending FSA / HSA eligibility to dietary supplements would save consumers money on products that many already buy to meet their health care needs and help promote self-care behavior.” clever. “

According to CRN’s 2020 Dietary Supplement Consumer Survey, more than 170 million U.S. consumers are already taking dietary supplements as a simple, cost-effective way to manage their health and wellness. Since the start of the pandemic, consumers have recognized the value of dietary supplements as a tool in their arsenal to maintain their health and well-being. While cost effective relative to medical expense, dietary supplements are by no means cheap, which can still be a barrier to entry for some people.

“Millions of consumers are already using FSAs and HSAs to save money on their health care costs,” Melville added. “As consumers increasingly turn to affordable self-care options that support their overall health and well-being, expanding FSA / HSA eligibility to include dietary supplements is one way. smart to realize additional savings. “

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