new healthcare law means you have to get a prescription for tylenol??

Rosie - posted on 10/29/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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at work today a coworker was going on and on about how we're going to start having to get a prescription for tylenol, and other over the counter medication. i looked it up, cause it sounded an awful lot like glen beck rhetoric, but it is actually SOMEWHAT true. if you have and FSA or HSA account for health insurance you will need to get a prescription if you plan on using your HSA or FSA cards to buy the medication. since these accounts are tax-free the IRS feels it is getting screwed basically, and trying to keep people for getting reimbursed for items that aren't covered by these cards.

what do you think of this? is this another way of "taking away our freedoms" or are they just trying to recover some of the much needed taxes that people slither out of paying when using these accounts?http://www.hrmorning.com/how-reform-chan...

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Jenn - posted on 03/11/2011

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Sorry that my lack of understanding "floors" you Pansy, but please keep in mind that many of us are not American, so we don't know all of the ins and outs of your ways. Now that I realize what those cards are it makes more sense. But I still don't see what the big deal is; it's still money coming out of your own pocket.

Pansy - posted on 03/11/2011

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I don't think most of you understand what an HSA or FSA is. It's a heathcare spending account. It's my tax-free dollars that can only be used towards *certain* health care costs. It's not like I can take my card into a supermarket and buy groceries off it ... it doesn't work that way. I can use it for co-pays instead of writing a check or paying cash. I go to CVS and buy my perscriptions, plus toilet papers, etc, and when I swipe my HSA card, it knows what is valid and what isn't. And it will say "You now owe $10" for the toilet paper. It only pays for HSA eligible items. *Some* NOT ALL, OTC drugs used to be eligible. Now they are talking them off. Contact Lens solution used to be eligible for reimbursement, it's not anymore. It doesn't mean that you can't go in and buy it!! Sometimes I'm floored by people's lack of understanding.

@Laurie, you obviously have zero idea what you are talking about. You can buy tylenol until the cows come home. You just can't use tax-free money to do it. It's a pretty simple thing, really.

It's MY money ... but it's what things I can buy with my tax-free money, versus my taxed money. That is the only difference. It's not a big deal really.

Do people really think they will need a prescription to buy OTC medication ... what part of OTC are people not grasping??

Lady Heather - posted on 03/11/2011

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Does that mean they get free tylenol? Sounds like a good deal to me.

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Rosie - posted on 03/12/2011

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our account rolls over each year.

that kindof seems plausable kelly, except that the government wants money from taxes, lol. so if they offered everything tax free they wouldn't make any money. it'll never happen.

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A better policy would be to simply make OTC drugs tax free, like they did for food. Then they would not have to worry about establishing all of these savings accounts, or monitoring what people use the money in the accounts for. Currently, some stores will separate your HSA account purchases from regular purchases, but the software to do is is expensive, and many smaller chains do not have it. There is no accountability unless you are audited, so many people use the tax free funds for non-qualifying purchases, and get away with it. however, the software to separate what items are taxed and tax free is very inexpensive, and the government actually helped retailers pay for it when that law was passed, so most stores have it now, thus, less people would get away with buying non-qualifying goods without paying tax.



The whole reason for the accounts is to allow those of us who do not spend enough on healthcare each year to qualify for the itemized tax credit to pay for healthcare tax free. If they just stopped taxing healthcare, they would get the same effect, it would cost a lot less, and they could also do away with the itemized tax credit for healthcare. But they probably won't do that b/c the government keeps the money people put into the accounts but do not spend, and that would cut into their ill gotten revenue.

Meghan - posted on 03/12/2011

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Yeah, We don't get covered for OTC medication in Canada...even if we pay for extra insurance....seems very foreign!
I wouldn't be too happy about having to get a prescription for Tylenol if I was covered though...what a pain in the ass when you have a teething toddler

Kate CP - posted on 03/11/2011

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What Pansy said is correct (although, admittedly, it could have been phrased better).

My husband and I put a set amount of money into the FSA (Flex Spending Account) every year. This money is tax-free and can be used to pay for just about any medical expense including hospital stays, medical procedures, doctors' fees, prescriptions, and (until recently) just about any OTC medication out there including bandaids. My FSA even covered therapeutic massage and chiropractic services. But now all that extra money we squirreled away is basically gone. We don't get back what we don't spend. At the end of the year we used to go and stock up on TONS of medicines and bandages and the like to use up what was left in the FSA...now we'll just have to take the loss. It's a big pain in the ass to go to the doctor to ask for a bunch of prescriptions that he doesn't want to have to write and use up his time.

Now that we KNOW that these OTC medications won't be covered unless I trek my (un)happy ass to the doctor's for a bottle of Tylenol we can adjust how much we put into the FSA for the year. But this last year because it was done in the middle of the fiscal year we had to take a hit. It's a pain in the ass and I don't like losing the money. It was nice to get the medications we needed without having to pay the extra taxes.

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I don't actually mind. We seldom take medicine unless we have to. Plus prolonged use of tylenol has been linked with liver damage and advanced aging of the liver and kidney's. We just don't use it. However, I do understand how silly this is. pretty soon you will have to get a script for a bar of soap. Remember the bath salts being used as drugs? Or how about the fertilizers? I could go on but you get the point.

Rosie - posted on 03/11/2011

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laurie, you are wrong. it's in effect right now. did you read the link provided? what i found out that will happen in 2013-2014 is putting a cap on how much you can put into your FSA at $2500 a year for families. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/10/...

and jenn, it's kinda hard to explain but we don't get medication for free. a HSA or FSA account is a tax free savings account used for health purposes. a certan amount of money is taken out of your paycheck each month- before taxes- and put into an account linked to a debit card. you use that debit card for all medical expenses.

i've personally always bought OTC medication with my regular accounts cause i didn't know you could use your HSA card for OTC medication. doesn't bother me in the slightest. but i guess if someone really depends on their HSA opr FSA accounts for OTC medication than i can see them being upset they have to go to the doctor to get a prescription for something that they can get OTC at walmart.

Jenn - posted on 03/11/2011

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It sounds to me like that's how it should be. Why should you be getting OTC medication for free? Laurie - clearly you need to reread the information. You don't need a prescription to get Tylenol, only if you want it covered under your health plan. I have never heard of any health plans here covering OTC medications in the first place - sounds strange to me. It seriously baffles me that people are against free or at least affordable health care for the citizens of their country.

Kate CP - posted on 03/11/2011

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I was royally pissed when I first heard about this a while back. I'm still pretty ticked off about it. My doctor is going to laugh me out of the office if I ask him for a prescription for Benadryl. :/

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You can still go to the grocery store or Walmart, etc.... and pick some up. It says nothing about needing a prescription to BUY it (not that I can see anyway).... just a prescription to be reimbursed for it. Which I see absolutely nothing wrong w/ that. I can get a prescription from the doctor and get my kids some ibuprofen for free (state insurance), but I USUALLY just go to Walmart and pick some up. No problem.

If I'm reading this wrong and it will no longer be available over the counter.... someone please point it out for me. Thanks. :)

Laurie - posted on 03/11/2011

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Well today is March 11, 2011 and I am a disabled vet. I was at the VA today. I was told along with another 200 vets that it is true that not only will it be tylenol it will be in pm meds excedrin pm and many others. They actually told us to stock up.It was coming this way. Now I now it will not be a mandate untill 2014. So all you bama health care lovers stock up because you will have to get a script to get over the counter medicines. Take a good look I hope is does happen just so all of us people out here that did not vote for this guy can say we told you so. He wants control even on when you have a Headache! So This will not effect me that much as I have insurance and I have the VA. But I am so sorry for the people who do not and the people that will have to wait to get a script for their baby that has a fever.
Or the people that have to take off from work to take their child to the dr. to get a script. Wake up people remember when it comes to this if it truly does when it is time to vote again. You freedom is very important. But good news the election is 2012. Maybe they will not have this wonderful health care mandated yet!

Laurie - posted on 03/11/2011

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Well today is March 11, 2011 and I am a disabled vet. I was at the VA today. I was told along with another 200 vets that it is true that not only will it be tylenol it will be in pm meds excedrin pm and many others. They actually told us to stock up.It was coming this way. Now I know it will not be a mandate until 2014. So all you Bama health care lovers stock up because you will have to get a script to get over the counter medicines. Take a good look I hope it does happen just so all of us people out here that did not vote for this guy can say we told you so. He wants control even on when you have a Headache! So This will not effect me that much as I have insurance and I have the VA. But I am so sorry for the people who do not and the people that will have to wait to get a script for their baby that has a fever.

Or the people that have to take off from work to take their child to the dr. to get a script. Wake up people remember when it comes to this and if it truly does when it is time to vote again. You freedom is very important. But good news the election is 2012. Maybe they will not have this wonderful health care mandated yet!

Jodi - posted on 10/29/2010

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Well,I don't have an HSA or an FSA...soI guess I don't really care! lol But, I guess I can see where some people would make a big deal out...if you're putting this money into your account for the purpose of buying tylenol, cough medicine etc etc and then you have to pay a doctor as well in order to use said account for said purchases it does seem kind of silly. BUT, I also agree that it should be regulated for fraud reasons...so there's reasons to both side of the argument. Either way, I'm sure most people would be able to call their doctor to get a prescription for something as benign as tylenol and pick it up without ever having to pay for a visit!

Rosie - posted on 10/29/2010

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i actually don't think the employer has anything to do with the money since the bank just takes the money out before the government gets ahold of my check. i really don't have a clue who keeps the money if theres some left over if they don't do a roll over. i would assume the bank, since that's where the money is kept, but i have NO clue, lol!!

Amie - posted on 10/29/2010

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It doesn't seem well regulated either if people can use it wherever they wish? (Kati's example in a PP)

Amie - posted on 10/29/2010

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Oh ok now it's making more sense.

Confusing as all get out but it's getting there. So if this is a tax free thing? How's the employer handle this? Something must be coming out of their pocket too? Or I suppose they keep what's left over if they don't do roll overs?

Rosie - posted on 10/29/2010

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i think basically the big deal cathy is that people who have these types of accounts are going to have to get a prescription if they want to use their HSA account cards (like a credit card) to get them. here we don't ordinarily give out prescriptions for OTC drugs, since obviously they're over the counter.
so people are blowing this up making it seem like every time somebody wants tylenol (acetaminophen) that they're going to have to got to the doctor, pay the doctor, and then pay for the script as well. when in actuality all you have to do is not use your HSA card and pay for it like everybody else does, and you won't have to get a prescription or go to the doctor.
i feel like i'm not making sense, lol!! i know i don't understand how your system works so i bet it's hard to figure ours out sometimes. sorry if im confusing you! :)

Isobel - posted on 10/29/2010

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My ex has a drug plan at his work...and if you want ANYTHING covered by it, you need a prescription...seems pretty simple to me.

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Kati, that link brought up an article about the effects of sugar on your health. Do you have another link? I'd like to read the article :)

Julie - posted on 10/29/2010

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Neither FSA nor HSA is insurance. It is pre-tax money you/your employer put into an account to pay for HEALTH-related items. We have one and I use it all the time. I could see the account folks needing proof that what you buy is needed so that you don't just buy and resell items to get tax-free cash. However, I think it would be a major pain in the neck to do so. Heck, my first HSA I needed to use up the $$ by the end of the year or lose it! With my husband's, the $$ rolls over. You can see how when I had my account, I'd buy medical "stuff" to not loose MY money (no, you cannot get it back at all, even with a penalty). You can bet, if a 'script or whatever is required to PROVE that one needs said medical items, they better darn well let your money roll over year-to-year!

Rosie - posted on 10/29/2010

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all of these accounts are offered by employers, ours is our health insurance it's called a health isavings account (HSA) we pay a premium every month for our insurance, and we also have a certain amount of money taken out of our paychecks BEFORE taxes are taken out and put into a savings account (no interest) and you are given a credit card linked to that account to use only on medical expenses. when you go to the doctor you use your card pay the ENTIRE bill, instead of a $20 copay like regular insurance works here. most company's make you use all the money in the account at the end of the year or else you "lose it". (luckily ours rolls over to the next year!!) i do not know where the money goes to once it's "lost" as it doesn't happen to my account.

we are the only ones that i know that have an HSA account, most people go the traditional insurance way.
i dont' know how FSA accounts work, but i do know that the money taken out of your paycheck is before taxes as well.

Amie - posted on 10/29/2010

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The way I read it, Cathy, is that it doesn't but people abuse it. Something to do with it being in the form of a debit/credit card? So people just swipe it and the pharmacy/store knows no different?

I don't know. It doesn't make much sense to me. For our drugs that are covered, we tell them our plan number. It's entered into a computer and they just direct bill our insurance. No real way to abuse that. haha

Amie - posted on 10/29/2010

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So I read this about it:
http://thefinancebuff.com/2010/09/otc-dr...

Seems reasonable to me. Though I don't understand the last bit, use it or lose it spiel. Does that mean in the next year they'll adjust what is given a person? Or does it just mean that that bit "disappears" back into the tax coffers?

Caitlin - posted on 10/29/2010

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That's ridiculous.. I cna get a prescription for tylenol or benadryl etc... but all that does is have me save the taxes on it, my insurance wont reimburse me if it is available OTC... don't mind though, all I really buy is advil/tylenol and benadryl anyways.

Rosie - posted on 10/29/2010

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i know mary, and this lady was gong on and on about how we need to stock up on this stuff, like nobody would be able to get their hands on this stuff again without having to get a prescription. total propaganda AGAIN, from the right. argh!!

Becky - posted on 10/29/2010

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Well, I don't know if this is at all similar, but here, under my drug plan, I would have to have a prescription to have any drug covered. If I buy it OTC, I pay out of pocket. Now mind you, Tylenol is not that expensive, so I'd never ask for a prescription for it, but anyways. Is that basically what they're saying?

Rosie - posted on 10/29/2010

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i think it's a good thing after seeing how the law is actually worded. we have an HSA account, and i guess i never knew we could buy and get reimbused for tylenol and benadryl and stuff anyway. that always comes out of pocket for us. tax stuff confuses me so i try not to mess with it too much, lol. my husbands coworker uses his for gas, and buying online points/money for computer games. which he is getting without having to pay taxes on, which pisses me off. my husband has told him over and over again that his card is only to be used for medical thiings, but he just thinks it's all fine and dandy-they won't audit him. i would like to shake him. anyway, i think it will hopefully help weed out the idiots like him, screwing the system.
i do wonder how it will work though. i mean right now all we have is a credit card. how will the store know it's an HSA account when someone is buying tylenol?? i guess i dont know what they are going to have to do to enforce this, and it seems kindof like a big overhaul to do. hopefully it will be worth it.

ME - posted on 10/29/2010

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if it's a way to prevent tax fraud, then I have no problem with it...I see no reason why it should be an issue...I mean...people can still buy it without a prescription...they just won't get credit for it on their acct. without the script...

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