Over-the-Counter Disappointment

I’ve always been a pretty big proponent of HSAs and FSAs when my friends ask me about them — well maybe not always, but at least as long as I’ve known about their existence. Just last week, I recommended a friend look into the new FSA benefit being offered by our company starting in January. Of course, I spoke too soon. Now I’m not so sure how I feel about FSAs because of this.

FSAs are a “use it or lose it” plan, so I think having the ability to use the money up on over-the-counter supplies at the end of the year makes the plan more user-friendly. Now that you’ll need a prescription…I’m not so sure. Who’s to say your doctor will write you a “prescription” for your OTC drugs? Do you have to pay to see the doctor in order to get this “prescription”? Will you keep track of it, in case you ever get audited? See the problem? The average person is going to have to do a lot more planning ahead to determine exactly how much money goes into the FSA.

As far as HSAs go, I don’t see this as a really big deal. HSA money carries over from one year to the next, and the money is yours to keep for qualifying health care expenses. If you can’t waste it on six bottles of Advil and some allergy medicine at the end of the year, it’s no big deal. It’s still kind of a pain though. I like having the freedom to spend my HSA money on OTC drugs when I’m sick. I can relax and spend money specifically put away for nursing my cold, rather than blow $40 out of my checking account on NyQuil, Sudafed, and cough drops.

I think I would have to consider the effects of this new rule at length before making a final decision, but so far, I’m not a fan.


This crazy trip has got me feelin’: skeptical
And I’m singin’ along to: November – Azure Ray