The Pulse of Natural Health Newsletter

Stay informed about what is hot in Washington and the states about natural health

HSAs Should Cover Supplements!


New bills in both chambers of Congress agree. Action Alert!

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and three of his colleagues, Sens. Rubio (R-FL), Barrasso (R-WY), and Johnson (R-WI), have introduced a bill that would allow Health Savings Account (HSA) funds to go toward dietary supplements without having to get a doctor’s prescription; the same would apply to health Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs).

The legislation, called the Health Savings Act of 2016, does this by expanding the term “medical care” to include vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathic remedies, and other natural health products, and would allow spending up to $1,000 each year. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Erick Paulsen (R-MN).

Sen. Hatch and Rep. Paulsen introduced similar legislation in 2011 and 2013. The more support we can provide, the greater the chances that this legislation will either pass or be included in the next round of healthcare legislation. Patience and persistence will be rewarded. Please let Congress know how much this matters to you!

These bills are even more important because so many natural health advocates depend on HSAs and FSAs—they can be used for integrative doctor visits and treatments not covered by conventional insurance. And of course nutritional supplements are an integral part of natural health. Despite the fact that over half of Americans take supplements, most healthcare plans do not cover them. How many more consumers would supplement their diet if they were made more affordable? Expanding HSAs to include supplements will increase consumer access and choice, not to mention overall consumer health.

When the Affordable Care Act became law, there was a concern that HSAs would be eliminated, since they depend on the presence of high-deductible (“catastrophic”) insurance plans. We weren’t sure if any of the plans that qualified under Obamacare would be considered high-deductible enough for HSAs since the original goal of Obamacare was virtually to eliminate deductibles. As we all know now, the reverse occurred: deductibles have soared, so much so that most policy holders are now responsible for thousands of dollars of cost. The silver lining in this is that HSAs survived.

HSA plans slow the growth in healthcare spending. A 2012 study from the Rand Corporation found that families with consumer-directed health coverage like HSAs and FSAs spent an average of 21% less in the first year after switching from traditional coverage. The study found that if even half of consumers who had employer-sponsored coverage were in such plans, healthcare costs would fall by $57 billion.

Employers may also be waking up to these cost savings. Fully 66% of large companies offered one HSA-based plan option this year; this is expected to increase to 80%. Smaller companies have been shifting to HSAs as well.

Action Alert! Write to your legislators and ask them to support the Hatch bill (in the Senate) and the Paulsen bill (in the House). Remind them that nutritional supplements are a cornerstone of an integrative approach to health, and can help reduce healthcare spending if consumers take a preventive approach to health using supplements. Please contact your legislators immediately!



Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health:

Is Your State Being Targeted by a Medical Monopoly?

Tide Turning against Ag-Gag Laws?

  • elizabetta

    Why don’t we allow people to spend their health savings account monies on voodoo dolls, too?

    • eyesandears

      Because that doesn’t cost us any money, we’re able to use materials already found in the home. The one I just made of you turned out adorable! To your health.

      • Takiwa


    • Rev. Walking Turtle

      Um… Careful with the “Voodoo” sneerdowns and forcewrongs, now, Beloved… You’re likely not so very aware of having set foot on full-Spirited turf that is in fact quite terribly well protected by professional-grade Clown Gunners.

      Oh and BTW, Who’s this “WE”, Kemo Sabe? Um, care to expound on what that “WE”‘s agenda in this forum actually is? Just askin’… No real need to any part of said Undefined “WE” to actually respond, of course… You are free, though.

      Just sayin’. Just kindly do feel free to take the Free Advice for what it is worth; after all, it costs you NOTHING. And that is all. 0{:-o[

    • Alston J. Balkcom

      I think we should all be open minded, but I think that for the purpose of this legislation we should stick to things that have been peer reviewed.

      When your voodoo dolls have had tens of thousands of peer reviewed studies published in respected journals, then we probably should consider them.

      As a side note, I’m not sure how you would conduct a placebo controlled trial to determine whether one placebo (or nocebo in the case of your dolls) is better than another.

      Have fun playing with your dolls and when you come up with a good study, that is not paid for by the voodoo doll manufacturers, get back to us. This is a fascinating topic.

    • Realist

      Hey liberal clown I am over almost 60 & have been taking supplements for over 15 years and I am in excellent health. My doctor said I am in great health because of those supplements. I voted for FREEDOM, not more government control.

      • elizabetta

        Sounds like you and I are about the same age, but I don’t take any supplements or medications whatsoever. I don’t eat processed foods and only eat organic. My resting pulse is 45 – 55 bpm, blood pressure usually 118/65, fasting blood sugar always less than 85, cholesterol 150 – 173, and all other blood tests are always well within normal range. I am healthy, active and energetic. So it sounds like we have both reached our golden years in excellent physical condition, only I did so AND saved thousands of dollars on unnecessary supplements over the years. Who’s the clown now?

        • sedonamoon

          Apparently you enjoy government enemas as well.

      • elizabetta

        You voted for freedom for unscrupulous companies to put whatever they want in your supplements, with no oversight or accountability. Various States attorneys general have been analyzing supplements sold within their borders and are finding that only around 30% have the actual main ingredient listed on their labels. Several states are now charging those companies with fraud and demanding that their products be taken off the shelves. There’s an interesting Frontline investigative report on it. The most frequently found ingredients were Chinese ornamental plants and asparagus. So, good luck taking all those ornamental plant supplements.

    • Mary Richter

      why not, it’s their money?

      • elizabetta

        I don’t think products with unknown, unproven ingredients should be considered for health savings accounts monies. Anything that has medicinal value, AND that has been tested by a third party to validate ingredients, should be eligible. Many ingredients listed on supplement labels DO have value, but there is no way to know if those ingredients are actually in the product. Analysis by several states attorneys general are finding that only approximately 30% of supplements actually contain the ingredients listed on the their labels. This is why there should be mandatory testing.

        • Mary Richter

          It’s their money, they earned it and NO ONE including the government has the right to tell anyone how to spend it. I drink raw milk which many think is unsafe. It’s my choice.

          • elizabetta

            Then people who don’t want to be told how to spend health savings accounts monies, maybe shouldn’t put money into them. The only reason the government can tell you what to do with that money is because it’s tax free. No one forces you to get tax free money. Just don’t put any money into a HSA and then spend 100% of your money on whatever you want.

          • Mary Richter

            It is only income tax free. All other taxes that are passed down to the consumer still apply. If FairTax is ever passed we will see a change.

  • This is the initial legislative set up to start a whole new Feeding Frenzy of these Pharma Sharks to gain the natural health market by LAW…don’t kid yourselves, this is only wrapped with a ribbon that will hang us. Single Payer National Health Care is the only answer for the 21st Century!