Taxes, Health Insurance, and Nursing Supplies

We know that new health care legislation mandates insurance companies pay for a breast pump for nursing mothers, but we also know that the lack of specific language means some insurers only reimburse for a manual pump. Working moms who are separated from their babies need a double electric pump to express milk!

Thankfully, many major insurers are indeed providing a double electric pump for mothers at no cost, though often moms will need to get a “prescription” from their care provider indicating that mom and baby will be separated.

So, if your health insurance policy does not cover a double electric pump, did you know you can use your flexible spending account to pay for it? It’s true! The FDA regulates breast pumps as medical devices, which qualifies your purchase (even retroactively as far back as 2010 if you want to file a correction!) for pre-tax health spending dollars.

According to the IRS, “You can include in medical expenses the cost of breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation.” So what does that mean? An item that is used to physically extract milk, like the pump or flanges or flappy plastic bits the milk drips through–all those are covered. But the wording is unspecific, so each health plan is going to interpret those words differently. It’s worth a call for you to find out if your personal coverage extends all the way to nursing bras.

A Mother’s Boutique carries Ameda breastpumps, a company that is WHO-code compliant and produces high-quality breastpumps. The shop is also listed with Highmark Insurance, which means women who purchase a breastpump can get reimbursed directly through their insurance for the full cost of the pump.

If you are planning to purchase a breastpump or nursing supplies, call both your insurance company and your HR department regarding your FSA to get more information about the specific interpretations of your policies. You might just save yourself hundreds of dollars.

Did your health insurance fully cover a double electric pump? Leave us a comment to share your experience taking advantage of new healthcare legislation!

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