Washington, D.C.—Representative Buddy Carter (R-GA) and other lawmakers asked IRS Commissioner Charles P. Rettig to allow selected categories of nutritional supplements to be considered “medical expenses” under Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), according to a press release from the Natural Products Association (NPA).
The selected categories include nutritional and dietary supplements that carry health claims or structure/function claims. Examples include “calcium builds strong bones,” “antioxidants maintain cell integrity,” “adequate calcium and vitamin D as part of a healthful diet, along with physical activity, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis in later life,” and more.
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The letter, which can be read here, asks the IRS to revise Publication 502 for tax years 2020 and beyond to read as follows:
“you can include in medical expenses the cost of nutritional supplements, vitamins, herbal supplements, ‘natural medicines,’ etc., provided that such products are labeled with a health claim authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, bear statements describing how they are intended to affect the structure or function of the human body, or bear statements characterizing the mechanism by which the product acts to maintain such structure or function.”
Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., CEO and President of NPA, said in the release: “Americans are facing preventable chronic conditions at an alarming rate, and allowing tax-deferred healthcare spending accounts to be used for designated nutritional and dietary supplements is a commonsense solution that can make it easier for people to support their health and well-being. Too much of our focus in this country is on disease treatment rather than prevention. This simple change in our regulations promotes the proactive, preventive approach that we need to adopt if we wish to improve our nation’s health and manage healthcare costs.”
Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and several other senators sent a letter to Commissioner Rettig asking for the same revision to Publication 502.
In a press release from NPA, Scott commented: “We are blessed to live in a nation where we have enough of what we need, but we need to empower folks to be able to make the best choices as it relates to their wellbeing and that of their families. I applaud my colleagues for joining me in taking action to enable Americans to make proactive choices that will improve their overall health and expand their access to more nutritious options in the future.”