After several failed attempts to get tax breaks for supplements backed by official health claims, the Natural Products Association (NPA) announced last week that a new “Health Savings Act” was introduced to the House of Representatives.
“More than half of Americans already safely use supplements on a daily basis to help balance their diet and ensure they are getting the vitamins they need, but this key component to a healthy lifestyle is not supported by any organized healthcare plans,” the NPA said in a press release.
Other trade associations in the industry seem to be on board as well. A spokesperson for the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) told NutraIngredients-USA that it, “endorsed this legislation when it was introduced by Senator Hatch and Congressman Paulsen in 2011 and we continue to support it at this time.”
Congressman Erik Paulsen of Minnesota wrote in a release on his website that, “expanding and simplifying [the HAS and FSA] plans will provide families with even greater flexibility to save and pay for medical expenses."
AHPA added: “This legislation would allow people who use herbs and other dietary supplements, homeopathic products, and certain meal-replacement products to have up to $1,000 of their expenses covered if they participate in a Health Savings Account.
“This could have the effect of encouraging more people to include these products in their health care choices, but the main benefit may be existing consumers of these products, since the expenses incurred would now be acknowledged as medical care and nutritional support that is eligible for reimbursement.”
With similar optimism, Loren Israelson, President of the United Natural Products Alliance, told NutraIngredients-USA that the association supports the act wholeheartedly. "We appreciate the leadership of Sen. Hatch and Rep. Paulsen on this important issue and encourage their colleagues in Congress to pass this win-win action that will benefit millions of consumers.”
According to government data, when HSAs were first available over a decade ago, only 454,000 lives were covered by the plan. Today, 19.7 million individuals are covered under a health plan that is eligible for an HSA, Paulsen’s press release states.