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Expand HSAs for Supplements & Patient Empowerment

Health Savings Accounts expand choices for consumers; Supplements build immunity against disease

Expand HSAs for Patient Empowerment!

Supplement Deductibility is key for Disease Prevention

In response to the declared pandemic, Congress passed in 2020 a law (the “CARES” Act) that expanded a popular health benefit (“Health Savings Accounts”) to subsidize medicines bought “Over-The-Counter” (OTC), i.e., without having to get a doctor’s prescription to purchase.  It was thought easing patients’ access to medicine via OTC would stem harm from the pandemic.[1] 

But what about natural treatments like dietary supplements?  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) found 90% of COVID-19 deaths lacked sufficient Vitamin D.[2]  Even before COVID-19, a 1997 study found a least one vitamin gap in almost 40% of women and over 50% of African Americans.[3]


And if we look at an actual epidemic like chronic disease - which affects over half the population with cancers, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders - the NIH reported up to 80% of such maladies are preventable via more natural medicine that includes supplemental vitamins.[4]


The National Health Federation thus requests Congressional expansion of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), to include support for supplements.  Congressman Doyle and Senator Cramer have introduced legislation to this effect (S. 1654 and H.R. 5747), as have Senator Paul and Congressman Biggs (S. 4367 and H.R. 8032).[5,6]


The Paul bill offers a second support for natural medicine, via its repeal of the caps on contributions.  Individuals currently can put around $3,500 tax-free into an HSA, while a family can fund around $7,000.  By allowing unlimited funding of HSAs, the bill would let families pay more of the health bill with cash, versus relying on third-party insurers.  When patients control health decisions, studies show they want more integrated and natural therapies.[7]  The Paul bill also expands HSAs for more preventive treatments - like physical trainers, nutritionists, health coaches, and exercise equipment.


HSAs make a critical element for boosting natural health in a time of pandemic or with epidemics like Chronic Disease.  They are used by over 30 million families and have more tax benefits than the similarly-popular 401(k)s and IRAs.  Contributions are pre-tax for employees or deductible for the self-employed, tax-free in terms of interest earned in them, and tax-free when withdrawn for expenses approved by the IRS.[8]

 

HSAs should support prevention, not just treatment, and more cash payments generally. Patients need more prevention, especially during a pandemic or for the real epidemic - chronic disease.


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Links:

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/23/use-your-fsa-or-hsa-funds-for-over-the-counter-medications.html

[2] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33260798/

[3] https://www.naturalproductsinsider.com/regulatory/follow-path-least-resistance-hsa-legislation-supplements

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5638636/

[5] https://www.npanational.org/news/reps-boyle-and-lahood-introduce-companion-to-senates-hsa-expansion-bill/

[6] https://www.johnlocke.org/sen-paul-introduces-universal-hsa-bill/

[7] https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-03-patients-complementary-alternative-treatments-cash.html

[8] https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/healthcare/582176-health-savings-accounts-best-401ks-and-the-rest?rl=1

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