Bill proposes to make dietary supplements eligible expenses in FSA/HSA accounts, allowing consumers to use tax-preferred health savings to purchase more wellness products.
(Washington, DC) – The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Natural Products Association (NPA), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) – organizations representing dietary supplement manufacturers, marketers, and ingredient suppliers – applaud the introduction of the Dietary Supplements Access Act. This bipartisan legislation, introduced today by U.S. Representatives Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), John Curtis (R-Utah), and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) will provide greater choices to consumers by allowing them to use Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to purchase dietary supplements, giving millions of Americans increased health and wellness options for better self-care.
Results of a 2023 HSA & FSA Reimbursement Study confirmed that most Americans (78 percent) who currently have an FSA or HSA want the flexibility to choose how to best use their pre-tax dollars to stay healthy by using these accounts to purchase dietary supplements. However, current law does not routinely allow dietary supplements to be recognized as qualified medical expenses.
“Americans overwhelmingly want increased flexibility to take charge of their own health, and this legislation would deliver the type of reforms today’s proactive consumers are asking for and deserve,” said CHPA President & CEO Scott Melville. “By allowing dietary supplements to be added to the list of qualified medical expenses, this bill builds on previous legislative efforts, including a bipartisan victory in 2020, that expanded FSA and HSA eligibility to include over-the-counter medicines and feminine hygiene products. CHPA applauds Representatives LaHood, Boyle, Curtis, and Gottheimer for spearheading this effort, which will further empower millions of consumers to best determine how to use their pre-tax dollars to stay healthy and practice responsible self-care.”
“Ensuring that Americans are able to utilize their HSAs and FSAs as a tool to make personal healthcare choices for their families remains one of my priorities”, said Rep. LaHood (IL-16). “As enrollment in HSA’s continues to grow, our bill would remove unnecessary barriers to better meet the needs of consumers. This bipartisan approach would allow over-the-counter nutrition and dietary supplements to be considered as qualified medical expenses under HSAs and FSAs so that a patient can choose to utilize their health savings dollars to access these dietary supplements.”
HSA plans are used by Americans from every income level, with the average HSA contribution being two percent of household income, according to findings from the Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI). While critics of similar legislation previously introduced in Congress expressed concern that expanding the allowable medical expenses to include dietary supplements would mean less overall tax revenue for the federal government, due to more money flowing to these tax-free accounts, the Reimbursement Study revealed only 34 percent of FSA/HSA holders said they are likely to increase their current investment levels, and only 25 percent of non-account holders said the change would make them open an account and contribute to it. Furthermore, findings from a 2022 VISA FSA Survey show that, over the past decade, FSA/HSA contribution amounts have remained static regardless of policy changes such as expanded eligibility for over-the-counter (OTC) consumer products.
“More than 22 million Americans have chosen to enroll in a health savings account coupled with a consumer-direct health plan”, said Rep. Boyle (PA-02). “Given this substantial demand, action should be taken to better meet consumer needs. Since HSAs, FSAs, and HRAs, require a prescription for the reimbursement of vitamins it makes sense to remove barriers to supplementing nutrient-deficient diets. This legislation will serve to remove many impediments to self-care, with the goal of creating a sensible path toward better health for all.”
“The bipartisan legislation is a big deal for Utahns who use these products to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said Rep. Curtis (UT-03). “This bill also sends a clear message to consumers that Congress is serious about giving more Americans choice in how they take care of their health care needs, as well as the importance of proactive care. What works for one person may not work for another, and too often one-size-fits-all policymaking leads to higher costs for consumers and their families.”
“Putting consumers in charge of their health choices and allowing them to make informed decisions about their healthcare – as this legislation would do – makes good policy sense,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “Treating purchases of dietary supplements as eligible expenditures under HSAs and FSAs would incentivize healthy behaviors and consumer choice. Reps. LaHood, Boyle, Curtis, and Gottheimer recognize the contributions of these products to maintaining and improving the health and wellness of Americans. AHPA is grateful for their leadership on this issue and wholeheartedly supports this important measure.”
“CRN welcomes the introduction of this legislation,” said President and CEO Steve Mister. “Dietary supplements play critical roles to fill nutrient gaps and promote overall health and wellness. They not only can reduce risks associated with chronic conditions but can also lead to billions in savings for America’s health care system, as evidenced by the CRN Foundation’s recent health care cost savings study, Supplements to Savings. We look forward to working with the bill sponsors to advance this much-needed policy, so that consumers can finally use their HSAs and FSAs to purchase vitamins, minerals, and other supplements like probiotics, herbals, and omega 3s.”
“Expanding access to nutritional supplements is an innovative solution that will keep more Americans healthy, which is the most cost-effective public health policy of all,” said NPA President and CEO Dr. Daniel Fabricant. “With industry champions like Reps. LaHood, Boyle, Curtis, and Gottheimer sponsoring this legislation, we have a good foundation for advancing this bill through Congress. As we build momentum and additional support for this proposal, we will work closely with congressional leadership to strengthen the legislation. We are grateful for the sponsors championing legislation focused on better nutrition for our nation and for those of us who represent the millions of Americans who enjoy, sell, distribute, and manufacture these important products.”
“UNPA commends the sponsors of this common-sense, bipartisan legislation for recognizing the important role that dietary supplements have in helping Americans lead healthier lives,” said President Loren Israelsen. “Taxpayers deserve the choice to control their own spending, and this long overdue bill will provide greater incentives for adopting and maintaining healthy lifestyles. UNPA will be working hard for its passage.”
Under current law, FSAs and HSAs allow employees to put aside money before it has been taxed to pay for healthcare costs related to medical care, including certain prescription drugs, dental and vision care, OTCs, menstrual products, and other health-related items. However, the law does not currently recognize dietary supplements as “qualified medical expenses.” Estimates show around 60 million consumers already utilize FSAs and HSAs to save money on eligible healthcare expenses. Additionally, according to Health E-Commerce, U.S. consumers who shop at its affiliated e-commerce stores consistently confirm they believe vitamins and other dietary supplements should be FSA and HSA eligible. In fact, vitamins have been a top-searched product on these websites for many months now. As consumers are increasingly turning to dietary supplements to support their overall health and wellness, expanding FSA/HSA eligibility to include dietary supplements is an efficient way to help consumers with their health and wellness expenses. CHPA, AHPA, CRN, NPA, and UNPA have long advocated for the expansion of FSA/HSA eligibility to include more personal healthcare products. In 2020, a new law was signed reinstating FSA/HSA eligibility for OTC products and, for the first time, feminine care products, and this bill would extend eligibility to dietary supplements as well.
The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), founded in 1881, is the national trade association representing the leading manufacturers and marketers of consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, dietary supplements, and consumer medical devices.
Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL) represents constituents of the 16th District of Illinois and currently serves on the House Ways and Means Committee where he is Chairman of its Subcommittee on Work and Welfare and a member of its Subcommittee on Trade.
Rep. Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA) represents Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District and currently serves as Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee and sits on the House Ways and Means Committee and its Subcommittees on Select Revenue Measures, Social Security, & Oversight.
Rep. John R. Curtis (R-UT) represents Utah’s 3rd Congressional District and currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee including serving as the Vice Chair on the Energy, Climate, & Grid Security Subcommittee and the Communications & Technology Subcommittee.
Founded in 1982, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the national trade association and voice of the herbal and natural products industries. AHPA is comprised of more than 350 member companies, consisting primarily of domestic and foreign companies doing business as growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbs and herbal products as foods, dietary supplements, cosmetics, and non-prescription drugs, and also including companies that provide expert services to the herbal trade.
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing more than 200 dietary supplement and functional food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and companies providing services to those manufacturers and suppliers.
Founded in 1936, the Natural Products Association (NPA) is the nation’s largest and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the natural products industry. NPA represents over 700 members accounting for more than 10,000 retail, manufacturing, wholesale, and distribution locations of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids.
Founded in 1992, the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) is an international association representing more than 100 best-in-class natural products, dietary supplement, functional food, and scientific and technology and related service companies that share a commitment to providing consumers with natural health products of superior quality, benefit and reliability.