Breast Pumps, Insurance Coverage and Deductible Medical Expenses
Breastfeeding does not require any special equipment. All you really need is a baby and your breasts! But for a breastfeeding mother who needs to be away from her baby for work or school, a high quality professional-grade breast pump is essential! It can help maintain or even increase milk production, and provide nutritious milk to your baby, even though you can’t always be there in person.
Prior to 2011, breast pumps were considered feeding equipment and, therefore, not eligible for insurance coverage or a tax deduction. We all know that human milk is essential for optimal health and growth. For that reason, many individuals and organization have been fighting to change that. Finally, after much pressure from the American Academy of Pediatrics and various legislators, the IRS has changed its classification of breast pumps. As of January 2011, breast pumps are considered a medical device. This is great news for breastfeeding mothers all over the United States. It will now be easier for mothers to get insurance coverage for breast pumps.
You can expect to spend $250 to $400 for an all inclusive, professional grade pump. Fortunately, with the new classification, professional-grade breast pumps and rental breast pumps are considered durable medical equipment – eligible for insurance reimbursement. When you purchase or rent your breast pump from a lactation consultant, she should give you a receipt in the form of a “super bill” that will include appropriate codes so you can seek insurance coverage for your breast pump. There are different codes for rental pumps and pumps for purchase.
Since your milk is so important to the health of your infant, your pediatrician or your own health care provider will be happy to write a prescription for the purchase of your pump. This may increase the likelihood of insurance reimbursement. If you are denied insurance coverage the first time, consider writing a letter of appeal. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Many families have successfully received insurance coverage for breast pumps after being persistent.
If you live in the state of Washington, and your insurance company has denied your claim, you may file a complaint with the insurance commissioner. Keep in mind that the IRS, the insurance commissioner and the American Academy of Pediatrics are all on your side! They want you to succeed with breastfeeding and insurance coverage for your pump!
If you don’t want to seek insurance coverage for your pump, the new IRS ruling also makes it possible to claim it as a medical expense. The cost of your breast pump may be added to your other deductible medical expenses if you itemize deductions on your federal tax return.
For more information and to shop for some great, economical, professional-grade breast pumps, we recommend Hygeia pumps.