Are Doulas Covered By Insurance?What About HSAs & FSAs?
Everything you need to know about whether doulas are covered by insurance, if you can use your HSA/FSAs to pay for doulas, and what other payment options may be available to you.
Are Doulas Covered By Insurance?
Doulas are integral members of birth and postpartum support teams and provide invaluable physical, emotional, and informational assistance during pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Studies have shown that having a birth doula present during labor is associated with a decreased likelihood of medical interventions (such as cesarean sections, epidurals, and the use of synthetic oxytocin), shorter labor experiences, and greater satisfaction with the overall birth experience. Doula support often leads to a more natural and less medically intensive birth. Numerous studies have also highlighted the benefits of having a postpartum doula, emphasizing their positive impact on the well-being of new parents and the overall family dynamic by reduced feelings of anxiety, stress, and isolation and reducing the risk of pospartum mood disorders.
As awareness of the benefits of doula care continues to grow, many people wonder if their health insurance will cover the cost of a doula. Unfortunately, most insurance plans do not currently cover doula services because doulas do not provide direct medical services. However, as the landscape continues to evolve, some insurance plans are starting to offer full or partial coverage for doulas depending on your provider, plan, and location. Some private and employer based plans (such as Microsoft) offer maternity care bundles that include doula benefit reimbursements. The best way to determine if your insurance plan covers doula services is to directly contact your insurance provider or employer HR department.
Oregon is one of three states that covers birth doula services for people with Medicaid. If you have the Oregon Health Plan (OHP), doula care is a covered benefit for any members whose plan includes labor and delivery. Hopefully more states will follow in Oregon’s footsteps.
Can I Use My HSA/FSA To Pay For Doula Services?
Yes! If your insurance plan does not cover doula services, we are happy to report that your Health Savings Account (HSA) or Flexible Spending Account (FSA) can be used to pay for birth doula and postpartum doula services. Many people in the US have HSA or FSA accounts, which are pre-tax savings funds earmarked for specific healthcare expenses. The IRS has designated doula services as a qualified medical expense for HSA and FSAs so that you can use these funds for your doula care. Paying for your doula with HSA or FSA funds is often as simple as paying the doula or the doula agency using the credit card issued by the HSA/FSA organization or employer.
Tips For Navigating Insurance Coverage & HSA/FSA Payments
1. Contact Your Insurance Provider or HSA/FSA Provider: Reach out to your insurance provider or HSA/FSA provider to inquire about their policies regarding doula services. Ask insurance providers whether they consider doula care to be a reimbursable expense and what documentation might be required. Ask HSA/FSA providers if doulas services are a designated qualified medical expense and what documentation might be required.
2. Get Detailed Documentation: Ensure that you receive detailed invoices and “super bills” from your doula or doula agency. These documents might be necessary when filing an insurance claim or paying with an HSA/FSA.
3. Advocate For Coverage: If doula services are not covered by your insurance or do not qualify for your HSA/FSA, consider advocating for their inclusion. Share information about the potential benefits of doula care in improving outcomes and reducing medical interventions.
Other Ways To Pay For Doula Services
While everyone deserves to have the individualized care that birth and postpartum doulas provide, not everyone can afford to pay out-of-pocket for doula services. Here are two more options to consider on how to pay for a doula:
Gift Certificates: Birth First Doulas can be put on your registery so friends, family, and collegues can help pay for your birth and/or postpartum doula services. Gift certificates can be purchased in advance for baby showers or after a baby is born to provide some postpartum relief for new parents.
Portland New Family Fund: Birth First Doulas has teamed up with the local non-profit, Portland New Family Fund, in order to provide doula care to families who do not qualify for the Medicaide benefit but nonetheless cannot afford the extra expense of doula care.
Kind Words From Our Lovely Clients
“Our Birth First doula’s reassurance, comforting touch, and ability to explain each step of the process allowed us to focus on the miracle of our baby’s arrival and her dedication extended far beyond the birth itself. Her postpartum support, her willingness to answer questions, and her genuine concern for our well-being truly touched our hearts. Our doula went above and beyond and her emotional support helped us navigate the transition into parenthood with more confidence than we ever thought possible.”
Kelle, NE Portland, Oregon
“We had the most incredible experience with Birth First and working with our doula was the best decision we ever made!!! The classes we took at Birth First were very helpful and worthwhile. We had a challenging birth and our doula was there with us every step of the way over the course of 3 days. She held space, kept the energy grounded, advocated for us, made us feel safe, and held our hand (literally!) through the entire experience. We’re in complete awe of her gift.”
Keelia, Portland, Oregon
“I cannot sing our doula’s praises loud enough. I had planned to have my baby at a birth center in town but ended up needing to transfer to the hospital mid-labor due to complications. In the stress and trauma of that situation, our doula was the glue that held us together and made the transfer so much smoother. She was there for not only me, but my husband and my mom as well, and continued to support us emotionally after the birth of my son. I honestly don’t know what we would’ve done without her. ”