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NPA Calls for Inclusion of Nutritional Supplements in HSAs and FSAs

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The Natural Products Association (NPA) has called for allowing nutritional and dietary supplements to be covered under Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) as Congress and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) consider relaxing rules and expanding coverage during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Giving people more ways to save money to support their health is more important than ever,” said Daniel Fabricant, PhD, president and CEO of NPA. “This simple change promotes the proactive, preventive approach that we need to support if we wish to improve Americans’ health and health care costs.”

Recent changes related to the COVID-19 health crisis means that access to healthy products is becoming increasingly important:

  • Vitamin D deficiency weakens the immune system and could lead to an increased risk of complications related to Coronavirus.
  • Millions of Americans that have been ordered to stay home and practice social distancing are exercising less, eating more food, and eating less nutritious food.
  • Alcohol sales are up 55 percent, with sales jumping 75 percent for spirits, 66 percent for wine, and 42 percent for beer.

Proper nutrition is a cornerstone of this “health-first” strategy. But unfortunately, most Americans, and particularly lower income Americans, aren’t getting it.  According to available data:

  • More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in food deserts—areas that are more than a mile away from a supermarket.
  • In 2008, an estimated 49.1 million people, including 16.7 million children, experienced food insecurity (limited availability to safe and nutritionally adequate foods) multiple times throughout the year.

Millions of Americans are not getting enough nutrients:

  • 95 percent of adults and 98 percent of teens have an inadequate vitamin D intake.
  • 61 percent of adults and 90 percent of teens don’t get enough magnesium.
  • Nearly one-third (31 percent) of the U.S. population is at risk for at least one vitamin deficiency or anemia.
  • 23 percent, 6.3 percent, and 1.7 percent of Americans are at risk of anemia or deficiency of one, two, or three to five vitamins, respectively.
  • 1 percent of American adults have an insufficient vitamin A intake.
  • 32 percent have an insufficient vitamin B6 intake.
  • 1 percent are not getting enough vitamin B12.
  • 3 percent have an inadequate intake of folate.
  • 1 percent have an insufficient intake of vitamin C.
  • 4 percent are not getting enough vitamin E.
  • 3 percent have an inadequate iron intake.

For more information, visit www.npanational.org.

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