FSA Cleanup Filter - Shelf Life of Breast Pumps
April 17, 2020 1:18 PM   Subscribe

My FSA will be closed in 6 weeks and I need ideas to use up the money (it is use it or lose it). I will have around $1,200 to spend. One option, other than buying $1000 worth of tampons, is to get a breast pump per FSA store. Challenge: earliest we'll need it is next summer, as noone in this household is pregnant. Will a piece of electronic/hydraulic equipment last this long?
posted by sandmanwv to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I definitely know people who've kept their pump through multiple kids so I dont think that would be an issue.

Also I just found out you can use FSAs and HSAs for pet care, so if your kitty or pup needs a tooth cleaning, it might be a good thing to do if the pump wont max it out.
posted by ananci at 1:50 PM on April 17, 2020 [3 favorites]

Depending on your insurance coverage it might be something you would get for free, so I would check on that before paying for one.
posted by brilliantine at 1:54 PM on April 17, 2020 [13 favorites]

Breast pump technology does advance (and needs to!) plus might be mostly covered by insurance, so I'd probably find another way to spend it and hold off on that. Stock up on toothpaste and vitamins? You / whoever should be taking prenatals as part of trying to get pregnant. Usually prenatals don't have enough calcium or omegas.
posted by slidell at 2:02 PM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yup, check with insurance. Breast pumps are standardly covered these days.
Can you use this money for eyeglasses?
posted by Dr. Wu at 2:28 PM on April 17, 2020

Time to go shopping at the FSA Store!
posted by Wild_Eep at 2:48 PM on April 17, 2020 [2 favorites]

It should last, as people said. Though they are usually covered by insurance, it could still be a good buy-- there are many reasons it is nice to have two. One for home, one for the office. Or one smaller one with a chargeable battery, and a more powerful one that needs the wall plug. Etc. It's obviously not an essential to have two, but if you can't think of anything else to spend it on it's not a total waste imo.

Some insurance companies won't cover a "hospital grade" (this term doesn't have an exact definition) pump and you need to pay the difference, so if you are buying now with the plan of getting a second from insurance later, it makes sense to get the more expensive/powerful one now.
posted by sometamegazelle at 2:50 PM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would buy a pharmacy of OTC drugs.
posted by bbqturtle at 3:50 PM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

If your device has a battery pay special attention to storage requirements. Some require periodic charging and most removable batteries should not be stored installed in the device.
posted by Mitheral at 3:51 PM on April 17, 2020

I think it would last, but I don’t think it’s a good use of the money. As others have said, the technology may improve (the one I got free from insurance in 2019 is vastly superior to the one I got free from insurance in 2016) and you may not need to pay anything out of pocket.
posted by insectosaurus at 4:13 PM on April 17, 2020

I would buy a pharmacy of OTC drugs.

OTC drugs are only purchasable with FSAs if you have them prescribed by your doctor. True OTC cannot be purchased with them.

So long as I'm going on a tangent, this isn't me suggesting that you commit tax fraud, but there's a number of things like thermometers that one can use FSA money for that some food banks will happily distribute to low income people that could use them in during the crisis.
posted by Candleman at 5:22 PM on April 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

Re: OTC drugs. I just got a message from my FSA provider saying the following:

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was recently signed into law. The Act brings an exciting change as it allows over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and medicines without a prescription (Rx) along with menstrual care products purchased on or after January 1, 2020 to be eligible for health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), and health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) reimbursement.

It did say to check with your employer, but it looks like the restrictions are limited.
posted by XtineHutch at 8:11 PM on April 17, 2020 [5 favorites]

Right — this is much easier at the moment because the CARES act made all OTC drugs eligible. For future kids I’d get tons of kid Advil/Tylenol, assuming it doesn’t expire any time soon. Seriously, more than you expect you’ll need.
posted by david1230 at 8:25 PM on April 17, 2020 [1 favorite]

Other categories of items I just used up FSA money on: sunblock (including the fancy face kind from Supergoop!), CPAP supplies including a very expensive cleaning device for it, heating pad/wraps. Fsastore.com is a great spot to browse for things that are guaranteed to be FSA eligible.
posted by bluloo at 12:06 AM on April 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Another big-ticket item to consider: do you (or your SO, if covered) wear prescription glasses/contacts?
posted by LadyInWaiting at 4:53 AM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]

if you wear glasses, prescription sunglasses are great
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:44 AM on April 18, 2020

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