New Standard to Help Retailers Process Health-Spending Debit Cards

An industry standard was introduced yesterday that will help food retailers meet Internal Revenue Service requirements when accepting flexible spending account (FSA) and health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) debit cards.

SAN RAMON, Calif. — An industry standard was introduced yesterday that will help food retailers meet Internal Revenue Service requirements when accepting flexible spending account (FSA) and health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) debit cards. The standard was announced by the Special Interest Group for IIAS (inventory information approval system) Standards (SIGIS) here. The group’s standards will enable a broad range of participants in health benefit payment card transactions, including food retailers, to implement consistent systems and processes for transaction processing and data retention. More than 60 retail chains have announced their intention to implement the SIGIS standard by Jan. 1, 2008, when the IRS requires “non-healthcare” retailers that sell medical goods and services to maintain a point-of-sale system that effectively identifies eligible transactions when consumers use FSA and HRA debit cards. “The Special Interest Group for IIAS Standards was formed to create a standard industry solution that could be both scalable and broadly adoptable, while consistent with IRS requirements,” said Greg Licata, chairman of the board of directors for SIGIS. SIGIS’ founding organizations include Wal-Mart Stores and Food Marketing Institute.

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