Save Flexible Spending Plans lobbying FSA reform
WASHINGTON A lobbying group representing employers and insurance companies on Thursday issued a statement criticizing the Senate healthcare-reform bill for including a provision that would discontinue coverage of over-the-counter medicines through flexible spending accounts.
“It is disappointing that the Senate is determined to fund healthcare reform by restricting access to flexible spending accounts, a valuable benefit relied upon by more than 35 million Americans to help hold down healthcare costs,” stated Joe Jackson, chairman of Save Flexible Spending Plans and CEO of benefits provider WageWorks. “Severely curtailing the use of FSAs will not only force participants to pay more in healthcare costs, it flies in the face of President [Barack] Obama’s pledge to not raise taxes on the middle class.”
According to the group, most FSA participants are middle income, earning approximately $55,000 annually. Individuals and families with chronic illnesses typically receive the most benefit from FSAs, incurring annual out-of-pocket expenses averaging $4,398 per year, the group claimed, citing the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found. Approximately 44% of Americans have one or more chronic conditions, SFSP stated.
SFSP is lobbying for more than just reinstatement of OTCs as part of FSAs, the group is also calling for an increase of the $2,500 cap on FSA contributions. “Failing to adjust the cap for inflation will cause the value of a $2,500 FSA to plummet to less than half that amount within a decade,” the association stated.
Save Flexible Spending Plans is a national grassroots advocacy organization that protects against the restricted use of flexible spending accounts in healthcare reform efforts. The campaign is sponsored by the Employers Council on Flexible Compensation a nonprofit organization dedicated to the maintenance and expansion of private employee benefit programs on a tax-advantaged basis.
The organization has two driving missions — first to represent and promote flexible compensation programs through effective lobbying, and second to provide information on flexible compensation programs to national opinion leaders and the general public.
P&G announces voluntary recall of nasal spray
CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble on Thursday voluntarily recalled three lots of its Vicks Sinex nasal spray in three countries: England, Germany and the United States.
The company said it is taking this precautionary step after finding the bacteria B. cepacia in a small amount of product made at its plant in Gross Gerau, Germany. There have been no reports of illness. However, the bacteria could cause serious infections for individuals with a compromised immune system, or those with chronic lung conditions, such as cystic fibrosis. B. cepacia poses little medical risk to healthy individuals.
P&G detected this problem during routine quality control at the plant and promptly took action, the company stated. The company’s analysis to date shows this problem is limited to a single batch of raw material mixture involving three lots of product.
In the United States, the lot number of the products is 9239028831 representing Vicks Sinex Vapospray 12-Hour Decongestant Ultra Fine Mist, 15-ml., nasal spray. The lot number is listed on both the outer carton and the bottle. P&G said it found the bacteria B. cepacia in a small amount of product from U.S. lot 9239028831 and is conducting testing on the U.K. and German lots that have been produced from the same batch of raw material mixture.
Report: Reckitt Benckiser to make acquisition
SLOUGH, England The U.K. Telegraph on Thursday morning reported that a major Reckitt Benckiser acquisition was imminent.
Speculating on possible targets, the Telegraph identified Colgate-Palmolive, which fields the Colgate branded dental health products. But also in the rumor mix was the U.K. consumer healthcare group SSL International, parent company of Durex.