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  • prissygurl Jan 3, 1:52 p.m.

    Unlike many private businesses, the enrollment period for benefits for state employees is usually in May. I just don't know how they can get away with this when many state employees do not re-enroll until May. This should have been told to us BEFORE we re-enrolled and decided how much to put on our card.

  • NCPictures Dec 30, 2:52 p.m.

    "It is a bit more work for patient/doctor to have to get prescription for OTC. But you don't pay taxes on prescriptions anyway, so the Feds are hoping you will not bother to get prescriptions for OTC. I would think most docs would be willing to call in OTC meds without a visit. Most OTCs will not go through insurance so ins doesn't benefit. So you saved taxes anyway at the time of purchase. I doubt there will be a lot of tax rev created by this but they are counting on us to not bother with prescription OTC meds. And it will be a pain to have to go to the pharmacy every time we need vitamins, etc. Get a prescription for the meds that are more essential and used regularly." ----mamacass

    This is EXACTLY what causes healthcare to go higher and higher. SOMEONE has to pay for this paperwork, so it will end up being the doctor or hospital as they will need to hire a person the handle the calls and paperwork. Therefore your healthcare goes up.

  • carolinarox Dec 30, 12:56 p.m.

    Oh, that's right, that could never happen to the annointed one, just ask Rev. Wright or Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dorn or any of his pulit bureau. jp11

    Will you hold my peter and pullet while I scratch my, um donkey?

  • carolinarox Dec 30, 12:52 p.m.

    So its pre tax money that goes into it. Any unused portion can't be given back to the employee taxed or not. Where does it go? The FSA administrators, which in my experience do everything they can to deny your expenditures. It really is like pulling teeth just to get them to accept payments to a dentist as a medical expense. Just get rid of the whole thing and pay us more. godnessgracious

    Either an expense qualifies or does not qualify under FSA guidelines, they're quite clear. The only thing an FSA admin can question is the receipt or lack of a receipt, not the expense itself. If someone doesn't use all their FSA contribution, the remaining money goes to their employer, not the FSA admin. The whole idea of the prescription for OTC drugs isn't as bad as what some people are making it out to be and once you have the prescription, you buy the OTC drugs as always (not through the pharmacy) and send a copy of the prescription along with the receipt and substantiation form to the FSA admin

  • carolinarox Dec 30, 12:45 p.m.

    @mamacass -- You have to have the written prescription and send along with the substantiation to FSA, you won't have to go through the pharmacy to get your OTC drugs. It won't be that big of a deal once you obtain the prescription, just send it along with the receipt. Also, it is the states that benefit from the taxes on OTC drugs, not the feds.

  • dmr9321 Dec 30, 11:06 a.m.

    Just switch to an HSA account and forget the FSA accounts....

  • mamacass Dec 30, 10:08 a.m.

    It is a bit more work for patient/doctor to have to get prescription for OTC. But you don't pay taxes on prescriptions anyway, so the Feds are hoping you will not bother to get prescriptions for OTC. I would think most docs would be willing to call in OTC meds without a visit. Most OTCs will not go through insurance so ins doesn't benefit. So you saved taxes anyway at the time of purchase. I doubt there will be a lot of tax rev created by this but they are counting on us to not bother with prescription OTC meds. And it will be a pain to have to go to the pharmacy every time we need vitamins, etc. Get a prescription for the meds that are more essential and used regularly.

  • tsquaring Dec 29, 7:13 p.m.

    it's a pity that these changes are coming. thanks barry... :-(

  • whatusay Dec 29, 5:48 p.m.

    This allows the government more tax revenues by reducing the amount people put into the FSA. More take home income, more taxable income. What a bummer.

  • dlk13ster Dec 29, 4:59 p.m.

    "I would rather they eliminate the exemption of FSAs altogether."-yourkillingme

    Now that, at least, is a consistently conservative stance. I might disagree with you (I really don't know enough about FSAs to judge their merit or worth), but I can at least applaud this statement as being rational and in-keeping with a fiscally responsible policy.

    Whether this will even make a dent in the debt, deficit, or health care costs remains to be seen. But from what I've been able to gather this, will at least help pay for part of the larger health care bill (the merits of which can be/are discussed elsewhere).

  • ykm Dec 29, 4:26 p.m.

    I would rather they eliminate the exemption of FSAs altogether.

  • dlk13ster Dec 29, 3:54 p.m.

    "Welcome to government regulations of your life. This is just the beginning of Obamacare."-Keepin_it_real

    With respect, I think you might be confused.

    Quite the opposite, this new law ELIMINATES gov. regulation, by eliminating that part of the law which gives tax breaks to purchases of OTC medications with FSAs. Would you have preferred that they eliminate the exemption of FSAs altogether? If you truly supported fiscal conservatism and financial responsibility, I would have thought you would, since that would distribute the tax burden more fairly and equitably, in ADDITION to reducing the deficit.

    After all, only 33M Americans have an FSA; so why should the other 200M+ have to pay more than you do? Doesn't that seem...I don't know...socialist?

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Dec 29, 3:41 p.m.

    Welcome to government regulations of your life. This is just the beginning of Obamacare.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Dec 29, 3:38 p.m.

    Welcome to Obama.

  • dlk13ster Dec 29, 3:32 p.m.

    "Is this to force us into government programs?"-thewayitis

    Quite the opposite, this is in fact LIMITING one's access to "government programs," ie the tax prog. catering to people with FSAs. This is all an attempt to "reduce the deficit" by eliminating "waste."

    Rather than having those of us who don't have FSAs subsidizing people who do (which is "socialist"), all we're doing is making sure they pay their fair share in taxes. After all, why should gov. get involved (by giving tax breaks) with commercial transactions between you and your pharmacist, or you and your employer?

    We don't want to have moochers, after all, and this will simplify the tax code to make things more fair and "flat."

    I mean, really, it's only fair that if I buy Zyrtec and get no tax benefit from it (because I don't have an FSA), why should YOU get benefits for doing the EXACT same thing, simply because you do?

    Unless, I am "entitled" to the same tax breaks and incentives as you, simply just because.

  • godnessgracious Dec 29, 3:28 p.m.

    So its pre tax money that goes into it. Any unused portion can't be given back to the employee taxed or not. Where does it go? The FSA administrators, which in my experience do everything they can to deny your expenditures. It really is like pulling teeth just to get them to accept payments to a dentist as a medical expense. Just get rid of the whole thing and pay us more.

  • digital Dec 29, 1:01 p.m.

    Some products will continue to be FSA-approved without a prescription while some will require a physician's prescription first. These products that do not require a prescription can still be purchased with an FSA debit card. For a complete list of approved 2011 products go to: http://www.fsastore.com/Changes-to-my-flexible-spending-account-in-2011.aspx
    FSAStore employee

  • SouthernLady05 Dec 29, 12:56 p.m.

    "Since I can no longer use my medical savings account to purchase OTC allergy meds and supplements for my kids, I'll be forced to get prescriptions. Now we have to go to the doctor's office, pay a co-pay and the insurance company pay the rest. Then pay another co-pay at the pharmacy and the insurance company gets stuck paying 3X as much as the OTC meds costs.
    Somehow this is supposed to save money? What a farce!
    Worland"

    Just get your physcian to write a prescrip at your children's annual visit. You will still buy OTC Meds, you just have to provide the prescrip to get reimbursed through your flex.

    BTW, I'm a huge republican... but people have been misusing and absuing fsa's for years. IMO Neosporin shouldn't be tax free. That's all the change is doing... preventing people from buying this junk just to not pay taxes on the income.

    IF you NEED the OTC items you are getting now with Flex... it should be NO problem to call your Dr's office and get a prescrip.

  • grassroots Dec 29, 12:56 p.m.

    So at the end of next year when I have all this unused pre-tax $ in my FSA, I will not be allowed to stock up on infant Motrin and Zyrtec? That would probably stink even more if I had a baby or allergies.
    This is an effort to stop abuse of this benefit. Something that I read people complaining about all the time on here. I guess its an entitlement when it has a direct effect, otherwise not. On your next trip to the doctor, get your prescription for any OTC meds you want/need and then send it in and you will still be able to get OTC items with pre-tax income. Or just lower you contributions the "hundreds of dollars a year you used to spend on over the counter stuff" and pay for it with after tax income. But I guess that would not be politically clamorous enough.

  • SouthernLady05 Dec 29, 12:50 p.m.

    OTC mediciations are covered. This article neglects to mention that all you need is a prescription from your physician and you are fine to purchase OTC Medications with your Flex. Example, if you are supposed to take an asprin a day, get your physician to write a prescrip so you can be reimbursed.

    Also, the advice that Vera Gibbons gives in this article, is the very reason they are limiting FSA's. She's encouraging people to not use them properly. Really you should cacluate how much you'll need throughout the year for medical expenses... not make a mad dash in February to spend up all your FSA money on bandades and advil.

  • thewayitis Dec 29, 12:32 p.m.

    Why the cuts to flexible spending? It makes no sense to me. IMO, this country should provide more avenues for people to take care of their own expenses, rather than fewer. Is this to force us into government programs?

  • Kelondris Dec 29, 12:00 p.m.

    If you have an OTC that you have to be on, the doctor can write you a prescription for it and you would be able to use your flex money for it. You may have to fax a copy of the RX or a note from your doctor, but it will be covered.

  • junkyard Dec 29, 11:36 a.m.

    Worland, "Since I can no longer use my medical savings account to purchase OTC allergy meds and supplements for my kids, I'll be forced to get prescriptions. Now we have to go to the doctor's office, pay a co-pay and the insurance company pay the rest. Then pay another co-pay at the pharmacy and the insurance company gets stuck paying 3X as much as the OTC meds costs.

    Somehow this is supposed to save money? What a farce!"

    More lies and misinformation from GOLO's Tokyo Rose...

  • fzero Dec 29, 11:28 a.m.

    "Since I can no longer use my medical savings account to purchase OTC allergy meds and supplements for my kids, I'll be forced to get prescriptions. Now we have to go to the doctor's office, pay a co-pay and the insurance company pay the rest. Then pay another co-pay at the pharmacy and the insurance company gets stuck paying 3X as much as the OTC meds costs."

    So you're telling me that paying those 2 copays costs you less than just straight up buying it over the counter with after tax dollars? Unless you've got a baller health care plan, I call BS. What you would save in tax on those prescriptions is only your tax bracket X the prescription cost. Since most doctor's copays alone are about $20 and assuming you have a 25% tax bracket, that means your prescription would have to cost $80 before tax to just break even.

  • Worland Dec 29, 11:23 a.m.

    My mother-in-law, who has been a die hard Dem all her life, called me a while back to apologize for voting for Obama. Obama's anti-logging policies have cost my in-laws dearly. They went from the middle class to welfare and food stamps. From Blue Cross to Medicaid. An entire town out of work, and even the coal mines in the next valley got shut down. She sure got a big dose of "change".

  • fzero Dec 29, 11:22 a.m.

    "See this is a tax hike plain and simple plus it is just overly complicated and the changes have been poorly promoted by the government.They are banking on millions of dollars of your money due to not knowing the law changed. They keep whatever you don't use from your account"

    Incorrect. Your employer keeps what you don't use.

  • chatamite Dec 29, 11:18 a.m.

    If the Health Care Reform was was repealed last week, doesn;t that mean this does NOT go into effect?

  • Worland Dec 29, 11:17 a.m.

    Since I can no longer use my medical savings account to purchase OTC allergy meds and supplements for my kids, I'll be forced to get prescriptions. Now we have to go to the doctor's office, pay a co-pay and the insurance company pay the rest. Then pay another co-pay at the pharmacy and the insurance company gets stuck paying 3X as much as the OTC meds costs.

    Somehow this is supposed to save money? What a farce!

  • connie2006 Dec 29, 11:17 a.m.

    See what happens when Government gets involved with Healthcare...
    So now they'll make it even harder on people to be able to afford what they need to stay healthy. Outcome will be more people relying on Government healthcare when they get sick. We will be a socialist nation before long! The people of this nation need to wake up, and see whats happening rather then dreaming of a better life!!!

  • jp11 Dec 29, 11:11 a.m.

    Ocommie's appointments have EXCLUDED 150 UNIONS (so far) from the entire health care system. Just google it. They are Communists, pure and simple. When the gov dictates who gets and who receives it is a dictatorship. When the gov creates winners and losers that socialism.
    When the gov lets free trade work that capitalism and even the Chinese have adopted it. Canada and the EU are attempting to eliminate their nation healthcare as they are all belly-up, broke. They also have a numerical count for services, age, work status, etc. like Ofunbler says......SOMETIMES YOU TAKE THE BLUE PILL......(pain pill to die by)....heavens hope one of his kids gets a severe disease - I am sure he'd say "Not contributing to society. Take the blue pill." Oh, that's right, that could never happen to the annointed one, just ask Rev. Wright or Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dorn or any of his pulit bureau.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Dec 29, 10:53 a.m.

    and when is all this lower cost supposed to kick in???

    I find it laughable that so many people supported this administration on pretty much nothing but race, now he's shown that really all he is, is a big government liberal that wants to make as many people dependent on the government for thier lives. It's what you voted for, it's what you asked for, it's what you GOT! Enjoy your new life with the government holding all the rules.

  • nauticagirl501 Dec 29, 10:23 a.m.

    AMEN TO CTH1

  • hpr641 Dec 29, 10:20 a.m.

    All this really does make more sense if you begin to accept that the following really is true: You and I look at the money you pay in taxes as YOUR money that you were forced to surrender to the government ... or go to prison. However, those on the left, look at things in the opposite: The money you get as take-home pay is NOT really yours - it's the portion of the GOVERNMENT'S money that they, in their benevolence, are allowing you to have.

    Take children's allowances as an example - if they don't spend it wisely, the parents may be inclined to reduce or even eliminate it. Those on the left think the same way about your take-home pay: what kind of car you drive, how much you drive, what food eat, what your entertainment is, where you vacation, what kind of "toys" you possess, etc. is all factored into their estimation of how much you "deserve" to bring home. Not exactly what are founding fathers risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor for, is it?

  • umop apisdn Dec 29, 10:19 a.m.

    "Thanks Obama...and everyone who voted for "change". You got it!! Ugh! I'll be glad when he's up for re-election!!! I'm ready to get him and good 'ol Bev. Perdue out of office!!!"

    I agree but I've heard very few people openly admit Obama was a mistake. I wouldn't be surprised if people go so far as to re-elect him. I hope I'm wrong. Perdue on the other hand has really burned her bridges in a big way. I think if she runs again the other person will have to be Charles Manson for her to win.

  • grimreaper Dec 29, 10:17 a.m.

    See this is a tax hike plain and simple plus it is just overly complicated and the changes have been poorly promoted by the government. They are banking on millions of dollars of your money due to not knowing the law changed. They keep whatever you don't use from your account...but you cannot use it for the hundreds of dollars a year you used to spend on over the counter stuff. More Democrat parlor tricks designed to cheat the ignorant masses that vote for them. Sheep.

  • whatelseisnew Dec 29, 9:45 a.m.

    "I'm still trying to figure out the logic on this. How exactly do these limitations "help" anyone?"

    It does not. You have to understand the true intent of the not-health-care reform. It was about a huge money Grab and Power grab for the Federal government and nothing more. Look at it this way, millions of people will be getting taxpayer, paid for insurance. The Dems hope they will vote for Dems. Over time of course, they will have to control the expenditures more and more and more and consistently raise more and more taxes to keep this new ponzi scheme from collapsing for a while. Have no fear, 7 dollar per gallon gas and a 20 per cent vat tax will bring in the money.

  • whatelseisnew Dec 29, 9:39 a.m.

    Just another way the Dems are looking out for the little guy and another way that the not-health-care reform bill reduces medical costs, oops I mean raises medical costs.

  • cth1 Dec 29, 9:38 a.m.

    Thanks Obama...and everyone who voted for "change". You got it!!
    Ugh! I'll be glad when he's up for re-election!!! I'm ready to get him and good 'ol Bev. Perdue out of office!!!

  • cuttherecord Dec 29, 9:29 a.m.

    @sonicbluezx3, I'm afraid you've should your hands with that Osama/Obama jab and how you really feel about our President. Just for the record, socialism is when governments participate in the free market, sort of akin to when governments subsidize and or take over certain sectors of the free market. When FSA subsidization is eliminated or reduced that's moving away from socialism. I believe you should consider investing in a political science course.

  • cuttherecord Dec 29, 9:23 a.m.

    @autonomous173, I'd be interested in knowing if you have your own definition of communism, or you use the more widely established definition, because from my vantage point, when government eliminates or reduces subsidizes, that would be an example of moving away from communism and moving closer to a free market.

  • Unknown Caller Dec 29, 9:22 a.m.

    "I'm still trying to figure out the logic on this. How exactly do these limitations "help" anyone?" - wrobertson95

    This helps the government pull more money out of the working person's pockets.

  • sonicbluezx3 Dec 29, 9:17 a.m.

    Good ol' Osama, I mean Obama.... he might not be bombing our country but he sure is terrorizing us with his socialistic views!

  • autonomous173 Dec 29, 8:54 a.m.

    Communism spreads quickly. You sit idle and take it with a smile.

  • wrobertson95 Dec 29, 8:44 a.m.

    I'm still trying to figure out the logic on this. How exactly do these limitations "help" anyone?

  • Quagmire Dec 29, 8:39 a.m.

    Drugstore.com has a logo on everything that is deductible.

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