HEALTH

NYT article: FSA changes shed light on old eligibility problems

BY Michael Johnsen

NEW YORK A New York Times report published Tuesday illustrated exactly how far apart the rubber is from the road when it comes to incentivizing preventive healthcare practices and the implementation of the new rules associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Even as common over-the-counter remedies soon will require a prescription in order to be eligible for reimbursement under flexible spending account arrangements, tried and true preventive healthcare practices, such as breast-feeding, are not and in fact have never been considered eligible for FSA reimbursement, the report noted. “With all the changes the healthcare overhaul will bring in the coming years, it nonetheless will leave those regulations intact when new rules for flexible spending accounts go into effect in January,” the report read.

Breast pumps are not considered eligible FSA expenditures despite the fact that the American Academy of Pediatrics made a direct appeal to the Internal Revenue Service to define such products as breast pumps as a device used for medical care. In May 2009, the IRS determined that breast pumps do not diagnose, cure, mitigate, treat or prevent disease. However, the Food and Drug Administration regulates the manufacture of breast pumps as medical devices, and there are numerous studies that establish the preventive health benefits for children consuming their mother’s breast milk.

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Walgreens continues vitamin D giveaway program with Aetna, United Way

BY Allison Cerra

COLUMBIA , S.C. (May 27) One of the nation’s largest drug store chains has teamed up with a healthcare benefits company and a community solutions provider to raise awareness of the need for adequate vitamin D intake.

Walgreens, Aetna and United Way of the Midlands are continuing their efforts through a vitamin D giveaway program extension, which initially was kicked off earlier this year. The vitamin D awareness efforts will donate more than 25,000 samples, the companies said.

“We are pleased to continue our participation in this program to drive awareness around a health concern that’s seldom discussed in many communities,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens market VP. “Our goal is for more people to be informed that supporting a proper diet and healthy lifestyle with a vitamin D supplement is a simple step that can have long-term health benefits.”

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NACDS Foundation supports NCL’s medication adherence awareness campaign

BY Allison Cerra

ALEXANDRIA, Va. The charitable arm of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced its $1 million contribution to the National Consumers League’s medication adherence awareness campaign.

 

NACDS Foundation said that the NCL is leading the national multimedia effort targeting people with chronic conditions and healthcare practitioners — with additional intensive outreach in a handful of markets across the country — to inform consumers of the possible health and financial burdens that can be experienced when medication is not correctly taken.

 

Poor medication adherence is estimated to cost the healthcare system $290 billion a year, according to the New England Healthcare Institute.

 

“Helping to raise public awareness about the importance of taking prescriptions as prescribed by their doctors is one of our top priorities at the NACDS Foundation, and we are proud to be a major supporter of the campaign,” said Edith Rosato, president of the NACDS Foundation. “It is vital to public health to chip away at the hurdles preventing consumers from taking medication as prescribed and improving their health and lowering overall healthcare costs. The Foundation looks forward to actively engaging in the campaign and helping to ensure its success.”

 

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