You might recall that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contained a provision that requires employers to provide a location for nursing employees to express milk. For more information about compliance with that regulation, check out our FMLA blog on the topic. I make reference to it here because in conjunction with that new requirements, the IRS has recently determined that breast pumps and supplies to assist in lactation constitute "medical care expenses" under Code Section 213(d). This means that they are now reimbursable expenses for FSAs, HSAs and HRAs.
IRS Announcement 2011-14 reverses a 2009 letter ruling concluding that the costs of lactation supplies was not a "medical care expense." Consequently, these expenses are now eligible for reimbursement. Oddly, the announcement does not include an effective date, so it is not clear whether 2010 expenses could be submitted for treatment under that plan year. But it does appear that going forward, nursing mother should be able to request reimbursement for those expenses. So plan administrators should be prepared to process those requests and should consider amending or revising any plan documentation that specifically excludes these expenses from reimbursement.