If you’re the least bit familiar with the term “doula,” you’ve probably heard of the benefits they offer through their support and services. Maybe you’ve been fortunate enough to reap the benefits of doula care through your pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.
One question we often receive at Motherhood Center is, “Are doulas covered by insurance?” It’s a valid question, as few debate the benefit of doula care. Yet, the cost of a doula can be difficult for some families to cover, causing some not to utilize doula services when they otherwise would.
Our goal through this article is to thoroughly answer the question of doula insurance so that, moving forward, you can make an informed decision about whether you’d like the support of doula care.
What is a doula?
Before we move any further, let’s briefly discuss what a doula is. What is doula care, and what do doulas do for you? Are they worth it?
As Gabriela, our founder, and president said:
“When I first started working with families over 20 years ago, “doula” was a new term/career and not known by many. Today; however, the term “doula” is known by most, and they provide invaluable support and guidance to new parents at one of the most special times of their lives.”
Most often, you hear people refer to birth or postpartum doulas who provide emotional, mental, and physical support before, during, and after childbirth. The term “doula” originally meant this, but there are now many kinds of doulas.
There is much research to prove the benefits of using a doula during childbirth. Doula care has been shown to improve overall birth and postpartum outcomes. Studies show doula care is associated with shorter labors, healthier baby weight, less pain medication, lower cesarean rates, and reduced depression and anxiety.
Is a doula a medical professional?
A doula is not a medical professional. They cannot offer medical advice or administer medication of any kind. This is one reason why most insurance will not cover doula care.
When you hire a doula, you’re paying for their support, education, comfort, and pain-relieving techniques to assist you through your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. They’re there to inform you, advocate for you, help navigate labor’s pain, and boost morale. They may also help with household duties and breastfeeding support.
A doula should never attempt to diagnose or conduct any medical exam.
Are doulas covered by insurance?
Doula care can be expensive. Understandably, you’re wondering if doulas are covered by insurance. Unfortunately, most insurance does not cover doula care. Because they are not medical professionals, they are not considered essential care. Thankfully, there has been a recent surge in efforts to have doula insurance throughout the U.S.
People are beginning to recognize the benefits of having a birth or postpartum doula and are working to make doula care accessible to more families.
At Motherhood Center, we recognize having a doula shouldn’t be considered a luxury. The cost can be a great deterrent for some families that would greatly benefit from doula care, and the positive outcomes of having a doula should be available to everyone.
While your insurance may not cover a doula yet, there are other options for you to consider, which we cover below.
Can I pay for a doula with my HSA?
If you have a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA), you should be able to pay for doula care this way. Doula services are eligible for reimbursement if you provide an invoice and a letter of medical necessity.
Your doctor must sign the letter after you fill it out. You can get the letter directly from your insurance company or fill out a generic one like this one.
Is doula care tax deductible?
Doulas are not tax deductible if you’re looking for a black-and-white answer. You can reference a list from the IRS of qualifying deductible medical expenses when writing a list of your pregnancy expenses.
Because doulas are not considered a medical expense like a midwife, doctor, or nurse, they do not fall under the list. However, specific birth education and lactation supplies are tax deductible, so it’s best to talk to an expert about whether doula care can fall into any qualifying categories.
How to get a doula covered by insurance?
While many insurances still don’t cover doulas, efforts are being made daily to change this. Medicaid now covers doulas in eight states, with many more working on implementing coverage. The states currently providing coverage through Medicaid are:
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
Washington, D.C., also includes coverage of doula care. You can see the complete list of those working to provide coverage here.
Some insurances pay in part or whole for doula care — you can reference the list here. You’ll have to find out if doula care is reimbursable by your insurance company. Here are the steps to follow if it is:
- Pay your doula in full.
- Receive an invoice for their care.
- Submit the invoice and a claim form to your insurance company. The form must include these things:
- Your doula’s name and address.
- Their social security number, taxpayer ID number, or NPI number.
- The date and location their services were provided.
- The CPT code for the services offered.
- A diagnosis code.
- The doula’s signature.
You can find a complete list of steps here, including suggested next steps if your claim is rejected.
Consider Motherhood Center’s doula care services.
There’s no doubt doula care comes with a host of benefits. While we believe the benefits far outweigh the cost, we understand that — for some — the cost is not plausible.
We hope this article has provided helpful resources on doula insurance and how to make doula care more affordable for families like yours. We’d love to assist in finding the best doula care for you. Check out our doula services and get in touch with Motherhood Center today.