Doulas & Insurance

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Any doulas covered by health insurance?

July 2003

We are in search of a doula, preferrably in the East Bay. We plan to deliver at Alta Bates. Are there any doulas that are covered by health insurance (spec. Cigna PPO or PacfiCare HMO)? Thanks for your help.

I am a Doula who while in nursing school I am currently volunteering at Alta Bates. Concerning Health Insurance, From my understanding Insurances do not cover doulas. There is a form that you as a health care member can fill out and if you carry a certain health care, they will reimburse you for a specific amount. If interested you can email me and I will look up the name of the form for you. Kathlene James

The short answer is no, no insurance I have ever seen has paid for a doula. In fact, our MSA plan won't even reimburse. Maybe your insurance is different from the five we've tried, so it's worth asking.

Health Care Reimbursment Account for doula?

February 2003

I am wondering if anyone has used money set aside in a company sponsored ''Health Care Reimbursment Account'' to cover the cost of a doula's services? Any suggestions on how to get it covered? How about post-birth baby nurse? Thank You!

I have a flex benefit plan through my work, and I did some research and found out that it does not cover doula services, to my dismay. The coverage is based on IRS guidelines, so it is not up to the discretion of the company that administers the plan (i.e. you can't complain and convince them to change their mind). You can probably get a list from the company of covered expenses. We were able to get most of our childbirth education class covered (they cover medical and birthing portions, but not newborn care, go figure!), they will cover breast pumps. Most of the coverage seems to be medically based. Martha

I just fought this battle with my husband's FSA plan administrator -- and lost, unfortunately. We were trying to budget how much to set aside for '03, which is when we'll actually incur the labor doula expense, so if there are any success stories out there, I'd be curious to hear them myself, since we could still submit the expense. I did do a fair amount of research on the topic, and received assistance from both DONA and an acquaintance who works for a company that administers FSA plans -- he said his company would have approved it, so there is room for interpretation. Also, DONA was aware of at least one instance where a labor doula expense had been approved by an FSA administrator. The FSA eligible expense standard is the same as the deductible medical expense standard, and the closest thing to guidance from the IRS on this is a ruling that a portion of childbirth classes are a deductible medical expense. I'd be happy to forward you the letter I used to make my case, as it has the pertinent regulatory citations, although, again, it didn't work for me. Feel free to e-mail me at the address below. Hopefully your plan adminstrator will be more forward- thinking! -- Anne ahartman