In a nutshell
Nursing bras are not covered by health insurance and many moms find them to be a significant expense.
And no, unfortunately you can’t use your HSA, FSA, or HRA to pay for nursing bras. Nursing bras are also not eligible for reimbursement from your LPFSA or DCFSA. In fact, if you sneakily pay for your nursing bras with one of those accounts, you will be penalized if found out.
Let’s take a deep dive:
What defines nursing bras?
Nursing bras are bras specially designed just for breastfeeding. They are built with drop-down cups or pull-aside flaps.
What is FSA?
FSA is a short form for Flexible Spending Account. It is an account that you set up with your employer and it allows you to put pre-tax money into the account and use it for eligible expenses.
What is HSA?
HSA is a health savings account that can be used to pay for qualified medical expenses. HSA contributions are not subject to federal income tax and the earnings grow tax-free until they are withdrawn.
Why are nursing bras not covered by HSA and FSA?
Good question. I wish they were too. The reason is that these types of bras are not classified as medical supplies. The IRS has ruled that these products are “not used to prevent or treat illness” and do not “prevent disease”. IMHO nursing bras prevent frustration and hair-pulling. They also prevent sagging breasts in the long run. Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t care what I think.
Are pumping bras FSA and HSA eligible?
Yes, pumping bras are FSA and HSA eligible items. But there are a ton of pumping bras on Amazon. To be on the safe side, you should check with your account administrators before forking out for one just to find out later that you won’t be reimbursed for it.
One way to get around this is to buy a pumping bra that also functions as a nursing bra. There are plenty around but these are the best all-in-one nursing and pumping bras on Amazon.
What other breastfeeding expenses are FSA and HSA eligible?
You can use your HSA or FSA funds for breastfeeding supplies that are one-time purchases like pumping bras, breast pumps and pump supplies. Breastfeeding items which will need to be purchased on an ongoing basis like disposable nursing pads and breastmilk storage bags are also eligible for HSA and FSA reimbursement.
Support services such as lactation counseling is also covered.
Plans can vary quite a bit, so be sure to check with your individual plan to see what’s allowed. If you use funds for unapproved items, you’ll have to pay income tax on those purchases, plus a penalty.
How to buy breastfeeding and pumping supplies with my FSA/HSA?
Use your FSA/HSA debit card to pay for the items. You can also pay for these items with your regular debit or credit card and submit your receipt to your plan administrator for reimbursement.
Please be aware that some FSA administrators have different standards for what may be approved for items under their systems for breastfeeding and maternity care services. Reach out to your individual plan administrator to inquire.
Be sure to hold onto receipts which prove that your HSA funds have gone toward breastfeeding supplies or other qualifying expenses.
To wrap up
It’s unfortunate that nursing bras are not FSA or HSA eligible as they can be expensive. Luckily there are online retailers like Amazon where you can often find good deals and affordable nursing bras.
These reviews will help you decide on the best nursing bra for you:
- How to choose the right nursing bra (with examples)
- The 15 best nursing bras on Amazon
- The 7 best all-in-one nursing and pumping bras on Amazon
- Nursing Bra Guide
- The 7 best nursing bras for sleeping like a baby