Basics

Why do I need a prescription for some OTC products?

Update: As of March 2020 with the passage of the CARES Act, the OTC Rx requirement has been repealed and prescriptions are no longer necessary to purchase over-the-counter medicines with an FSA or HSA. Additionally, menstrual care products like tampons and pads are fully FSA-/HSA-eligible. Learn more here.


All this talk about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (often referred to as PPACA, ACA, or Obamacare) brings a lot of questions about changes.

The ACA creates a rule for processing medical expenses - particularly over-the-counter medicines or drugs. Since Jan. 1, 2011, over-the-counter medicines and drugs require a prescription for FSA reimbursement. The IRS discusses questions about ACA changes on OTC medicines here.

For example, if you're looking to buy Advil or Aleve, you'd need a prescription in order to use your FSA funds. You can still buy insulin without a prescription, since it's the only medicine to which the rule does not apply.

If however, you want to buy non-medicines, you can still get thousands of products without a prescription. Browse FSAstore.com for the largest selection of FSA eligible products you can buy with an FSA card!

Which OTC items require a prescription?

View our FSA Eligibility List to get a better idea which OTC items require a prescription.

Examples of prescription items:

  • Acne treatments
  • Allergy medicine
  • Aspirin
  • Antacids
  • Diaper creams
  • Nicotine patches
  • Cold & flu medicines

Does FSAstore.com process prescriptions?

Yes, you can submit a prescription to us in three ways:

1. Provide your doctor's information and we'll handle it from there.

2. Directly mail a prescription to us.

3. Your doctor can fax or electronically submit prescriptions to our pharmacy partner.

Learn more aboutFSA Eligible Prescription Processing at FSAstore.com.