Retail News Breaks Archives
Pharmacy techs serve up FSA advice
December 22nd, 2011
WASHINGTON – Retail pharmacy teams, including pharmacy technicians, are offering practical solutions to patients about how to best use remaining 2011 flexible spending account (FSA) funds, according to the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
PTCB said this week that professionals in retail settings are actively engaging with consumers to boost the value of this employee benefit and offer ways to maximize FSA contributions, since FSA participants are often required to spend their full annual election before the year's end or they must forfeit unused money.
The board noted that an FSA can save a person up to 40% on items typically paid for out-of-pocket, depending on their tax-bracket, and that expenses may include insurance copayments and deductibles, behavioral health services, medical devices and insulin. An estimated 35 million families have such accounts.
"The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that American families spend $185 per year on over-the-counter medications," Megan Sheahan, PTCB's director of professional affairs, said in a statement. "Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians play an active role in communicating to patients and families that, in addition to being an affordable and accessible component of health care, OTC medications are often eligible for FSA reimbursement with a prescription."
In January 2011, the Affordable Care Act health reform law established a new standard, classifying many OTC medications such as cold and flu products as eligible for reimbursement with a prescription from a doctor.
"Community pharmacies are committed to helping patients make smart health decisions for themselves and their families, including helping patients make the best use of their flexible healthcare spending accounts," commented John Fiacco, vice president and general manager of Medicine Shoppe and Medicap Pharmacies, the pharmacy franchises of Cardinal Health Inc. "Pharmacy registers at many Medicine Shoppe and Medicap pharmacies are even equipped with the latest FSA-approved product information, to help patients understand which products qualify for their flexible spending accounts."