What is aloe vera?
Aloe is a type of plant that grows in hot, dry climates that has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years, dating back as far as Ancient Egypt. Aloe, which resembles a cactus, produces both gel and latex that are used in a variety of medicines. Historically, aloe gel has been used for centuries to heal wounds and burns, the latex has long been known to be an effective laxative and the plant has been used in a wide range of folk remedies for a variety of medical conditions.
Today, aloe medications can be both ingested or applied to the skin to treat a wide range of medical issues. Aloe gel taken orally has been used to treat inflammatory bowel disease, weight loss, diabetes, osteoarthritis, stomach ulcers, asthma and more. In addition, aloe latex is mainly used as a laxative, but this material can also be used in a variety of treatments for joint inflammation, seizures, colitis, diabetes, and more. Through a variety of clinical trials and research studies, it has been found that aloe vera can cause changes in the skin to treat a wide variety of conditions that affect the epidermis, as well as containing properties that are harmful to certain types of bacteria. Today, the vast majority of modern medicines that utilize aloe vera come in creams and ointments that target specific skin conditions for its ability to reduce itching, pain and clear up these conditions in an expedient manner.
Why do aloe vera creams and ointments require a prescription for FSA/HSA/HRA reimbursement?
As a result of the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), all eligible over-the-counter products that contain a medicated ingredient require a prescription from a doctor for reimbursement through an FSA, HSA or HRA. This restriction was put in place to deter account holders from "stockpiling" excessive amounts of one item, as well as ensuring that medicines will be used to treat legitimate medical conditions. These prescriptions are submitted alongside a normal claim form to a benefits administrator to ensure proper reimbursement.