Using Your Flex Spending Account for Breastfeeding Products

October 13, 2015

Are you aware that expecting and new moms can receive a breast pump at no cost through their insurance carrier? If not, don’t worry – only 2 out of 3 moms are. Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became a law, parents can not only use this benefit, but may also be able to use their flexible spending and health savings accounts (FSA/HSA) to cover any additional costs associated with breastfeeding. So, if you need breast pump upgrades or breastfeeding accessories, you can purchase them with funds set aside from your paycheck.

What is an FSA?

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) is a special account available through your job-based health plan that allows you to allocate up to $2,550 from your paycheck each year for health care expenses. The money is deducted from your paycheck before taxes are taken out, so this brings down your taxable income — a definite plus when tax time rolls around. You may even be allowed 2-3 months after the calendar year ends to use these funds, or to carry over up to $500 to spend the following year.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are similar in the fact that they cover qualified health care expenses, including breastfeeding supplies, but they’re designed for people with high-deductible health plans and funds that roll over each year. Also, whereas the maximum allotment for an FSA is $2,550, in 2016 HSA limits will be $3,350 for individuals and $6,750 for families.

How can you use your FSA?

While the ACA requires insurers to cover the cost of a breast pump, some cost more than what the health plan will pay. If this is the case, you may have to cover the remaining cost. And, if you want an additional breast pump to use at work or on the go, or need new parts, additional breast milk storage or other breastfeeding accessories, you can pay for them with money from your FSA. If a store won’t accept your FSA card for payment, many providers will allow you to pay out of pocket and be reimbursed. Be sure to keep your receipt and consult with your FSA provider about how to get your reimbursement.

You can get all your Medela breastfeeding essentials using your FSA! Download our Breastfeeding FSA Shopping List.

What questions do you have about using your FSA or HSA for breastfeeding supplies?

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