HEALTH

SIGIS updates Eligible Products List

BY Michael Johnsen

SAN RAMON, Calif. The Special Interest Group for IIAS Standards announced Wednesday that the group is making significant changes to its Eligible Products List — a list of over-the-counter products eligible for reimbursement under flexible spending accounts — in response to IRS guidance issued earlier this month.

That guidance, issued by the IRS in Notice 2010-59 in response to changes made by the Affordable Care Act, requires a doctor’s prescription for the reimbursement of over-the-counter drug and medicines from health plans and tax-advantaged healthcare accounts.

Based on this IRS guidance, the SIGIS Eligible Products List committee completed a thorough review of the list and determined that just more than 15,000 items are impacted and will need to be removed. Even after this significant reduction, more than 27,000 OTC items remain on the list for purchase without a prescription and through a Health Care Debit Card at SIGIS-certified merchants without the need for further substantiation. Items that continue to be eligible without a prescription include such items as insulin, medical devices (crutches, blood sugar monitors, etc.), bandages, contact lens solution and denture bond.

 

Though the IRS rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2011, SIGIS is releasing a summary of the edits to help SIGIS members begin to prepare for this significant change, the group noted. The detailed SIGIS Eligible Products List will be published on Dec. 15. In the guidance, the IRS granted transitional relief for IIAS merchants, so that IIAS merchants will actually have until Jan. 15, 2011, to update their systems to be compliant with the new guidance.

 

 

The following categories have been removed from the Eligible Products List to prevent them from being purchased at an IIAS merchant without a prescription. Categories no longer eligible without a prescription include:

  • Acid controllers;
  • Allergy and sinus medicine;
  • Antibiotics;
  • Antifiarrheals;
  • Antigas products;
  • Anti-itch and insect bite products;
  • Antiparasitic treatments;
  • Baby rash ointments/creams;
  • Cold sore remedies;
  • Cough-cold and flu products;
  • Digestive aids;
  • Feminine antifungal/anti-itch products;
  • Hemorrhoidal preps;
  • Laxatives;
  • Motion sickness products;
  • Pain relievers;
  • Respiratory treatments;
  • Sleep aids and sedatives; and
  • Stomach remedies.

 

 

SIGIS was formed to create a standard industry solution that could be both scaleable and broadly adoptable, while being consistent with IRS requirements. The group includes all stakeholders involved with the process, from pharmacy merchants through plan administrators.

 

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Kaz launches ‘Cold and Flu Central’ Facebook page

BY Michael Johnsen

SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. Kaz, the maker of Vicks, Honeywell and Braun wellness devices, recently launched a new Facebook fan page named Cold and Flu Central, created to help inform families about some of the best defenses against colds and the flu.

 

The page includes doctor-approved tips, third-party expert advice and links, product giveaways, drug store availability information, discussions and polls.

 

 

Jennifer Trachtenberg, chief pediatric officer for RealAge.com, is the featured pediatrician on the site. In addition, two other experts will be providing tips to fans on how to stay healthy this winter: Jim McDevitt, an instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health and certified as an industrial hygienist by the American Board of Industrial Hygiene; and Ted Myatt, a senior scientist at Environmental Health and Engineering. Myatt also is the biological safety officer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard Institute of Medicine in Massachusetts.

 

 

To help drive interest in the site, Kaz will be giving away one Vicks Cool Mist humidifier, Vicks digital thermometer or Braun ThermoScan ear thermometer each week.

 

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Jerry Barnes receives lifetime achievement award from GMDC

BY Michael Johnsen

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. The Global Market Development Center last week awarded its 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award to Jerry Barnes at its Health Beauty Wellness Marketing Conference in Orlando, Fla.

GMDC annually bestows this honor on a person who has contributed significantly to the general merchandise and health, beauty and wellness industries, as well as to GMDC through his or her leadership.

“Jerry’s contributions have been very unique, as he served as a key leader as both a member and as a senior manager on our staff,” stated David McConnell, GMDC president. “Jerry had a very successful career inside the industry, which began in the late 1960s when he joined Fleming Foods in Topeka, Kan. In 1982, he left Fleming to go to Carr-Gottstein Foods in Anchorage, Alaska, where he served as corporate VP merchandising and GMDC’s chairman,” McDonnell added. “I think Jerry did his most significant work on behalf of GMDC when, as chairman of the board, he helped facilitate the merger between GMDC and the former National Association of Service Merchandising in 1994. In his many years as a staff member, he has truly served as a catalyst for membership growth and expansion as he’s captured the trust of the membership through his knowledge of the business and passion for GMDC.”

Jerry Barnes has been a regular participant at GMDC Marketing Conferences for more than 20 years and served as chairman of the association in 1994. Since 1996 he has served on the GMDC staff in his role as VP member services.

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