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CHPA applauds introduction of bipartisan self-care bill to expand access to oral care products

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WASHINGTON – The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA) released the following statement today applauding the introduction of HR 8599, the Oral Health Products Inclusion Act. This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), Brad Schneider (IL-10), Nicole Malliotakis (NY-11), and Jimmy Panetta (CA-19), would increase access to certain oral care items, including manual and electric toothbrushes, water flossers, anti-cavity toothpaste, mouthwash, and similar oral care products by recognizing them as “qualified medical expenses” that can be purchased with Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) funds. Extending eligibility to oral care products so Americans can better manage their unique oral care needs builds upon a previous bipartisan victory in 2020, which reinstated FSA/HSA eligibility for OTC medicines, and for the first time, feminine care products, as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Oral health problems are some of the most common conditions among American adults. If left untreated, they can contribute to chronic diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, COPD, liver disease, and more. According to a recent study conducted by the National Dental Association (NDA) and CHPA, these problems worsen for low-income, undereducated, and rural Americans who face additional challenges and often seek emergency or urgent oral care from non-dentists at least once per year. In fact, emergency dental care visits due to untreated oral diseases in the United States result in more than $45 billion in lost work productivity and children losing 34 million school hours on average annually.

“Poor oral health can lead to chronic illnesses that drive up expenses for Americans and further strain our already-overburdened healthcare system,” said CHPA President and CEO Scott Melville. “By allowing everyday, essential oral care products to qualify as eligible medical expenses, we can encourage Americans to proactively take charge of their own health and ultimately reduce long-term healthcare costs. Congress plays a critical role in expanding this access, and CHPA commends Reps. Van Drew, Schneider, Malliotakis, and Panetta for spearheading this legislation and building on previous legislative efforts that will give consumers increased flexibility to manage their unique health needs.”

“Oral health is integral to overall health, and Americans should be able to count at-home oral care essentials like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss among the HSA- and FSA-eligible products that contribute to health maintenance and wellbeing,” said Linda Edgar, D.D.S., President of the American Dental Association. “Not only is daily care important for disease prevention, it can also lead to reduced health care costs for consumers. The American Dental Association supports legislation that makes this possible via HSA- and FSA-eligibility for oral health care products.”

“As a dentist of 30 years, I understand the importance of good oral hygiene,” said Congressman Van Drew. “That is why I am proud to be a sponsor on this bill, which will recognize these oral care items as qualified medical expenses in an important step towards encouraging a healthier lifestyle for Americans. By making these items more affordable and accessible, we are not just promoting better dental health; we are also empowering individuals to take control of their overall well-being.”

“We know that good oral hygiene promotes good physical health and that poor oral health can lead to negative physical health complications down the road,” said Congressman Schneider. “More than 70 million Americans finance their healthcare with a Health Savings Account. HSAs are efficient investment vehicles that allow Americans to save and pay for their healthcare expenses, yet inexplicably—despite other OTC medications being eligible for HSAs—our current laws do not allow individuals to purchase OTC oral care products like mouthwash, anti-cavity toothpaste, and toothbrushes, with their HSA. By making these products eligible medical expenses, this bill will allow more Americans to take charge of their oral health, leading to better physical health outcomes and helping us avoid the unnecessary costs associated with poor oral health.”

“When left untreated, poor oral hygiene can contribute to serious chronic illnesses, including diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases,” said Congresswoman Malliotakis. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in introducing bipartisan legislation to expand FSA and HSA eligibility to certain oral care items so Americans can reduce the potential for long-term medical expenses and better manage their dental health needs.”

“Lapses in oral hygiene can lead to significant health consequences and expenses for Americans,” said Congressman Panetta. “Through this bipartisan legislation, we’re empowering patients to invest in the tools that they need to maintain and improve their oral health for the long term. In granting this flexibility to Americans in how they utilize their health savings accounts, we are promoting healthier lifestyle choices and smarter financial decisions.”


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