SIGIS helps retailers process health-spending debit cards under IRS requirements

SAN RAMON, Calif. A new voluntary industry standard set by the Special Interest Group for Inventory Information Approval System Standards will help retailers meet requirements set by the IRS in regards to accepting flexible spending account and health reimbursement arrangement debit cards, according to published reports.

The IRS requires that “non-healthcare” retailers selling medical goods and services maintain a point-of-sale system that effectively identifies eligible transactions when consumers use FSA and HRA debit cards.

The group’s standards will enable a broad range of participants in health benefit payment card transactions, including food retailers, discount stores, warehouse clubs and mail-order merchants to implement consistent systems and processes for transaction processing and data retention. Implementing this standard will lead to a more efficient healthcare expense system for customers using the debit cards.

More than 60 retail chains have announced their intention to implement the SIGIS standard by Jan. 1, 2008, which is when the IRS is requiring the changes. Pharmacy retailers have until Jan. 1, 2009 to meet the requirements.

With a focus on interoperability, the group brings a diverse range of participants together to offer an IIAS solution that is recognized industry-wide. The founding companies of the Special Interest Group for IIAS Standards include:

  • Chase Paymentech
  • CVS/pharmacy
  • Discover Financial Services
  • First Data Corporation
  • Food Marketing Institute
  • Humana, Inc.
  • MasterCard Worldwide
  • National Association of Chain Drug Stores
  • Target Corporation
  • TSYS
  • Visa Inc.
  • Wal-Mart Stores and Sam’s Club

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