The key to this article is that it’s talking about unintended consequences – some of them driving costs rather than down – exactly the opposite of the stated intentions – from last year’s healthcare legislation. We’ve talked about the (likely to be repealed before it goes into effect) 1099 rules which were put into that bill but which have nothing whatsoever to do with healthcare. But in this case, they are talking about some healthcare-specific ones. In particular, the headline refers to the new rule which says that Flexible Spending Account (pre-tax) money that employees put aside may no longer be used for over-the-counter meds — unless you have a prescription. As if anyone should be surprised, now folks are asking their doctors to write prescriptions for things they could just buy anyway. So folks are wasting insurance money on unnecessary doctor visits, wasting the time of both their doctors and pharmacists (who now have to generate personalized labels for all these newly prescribed items).
But seriously, the article says “the unintended side effects show how difficult it can be to predict how such game-changing legislation will play out in the real world”. That may be true with respect to, say, enrollment rates for high-risk state-sponsored insurance pools. But for things like the OTC drug rule, well, I’m afraid I can’t call that anything but obvious.
David S. Meyers Meyers Wealth Management — http://MeyersMoney.com 1-800-993-2994 Fee-Only Financial Planning and Wealth Management — MA, CA