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Blue Shield Coverage

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does anyone know what blue shield will pay for as to a special diet we have to adhere to.

also i have heard of tax breaks for the food we have to buy, any help would be appreciated

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Morning MDB, most insurances here in the US do not cover special diets. I work in a doctor's office and deal with insurance everyday. I can tell you that within one company, there are 1000's of policies, so you should go to your Human Resource dept or call and ask your ins company what your individual coverage is.

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I don't think they will pay for any food...but you would have to call them and check your exact plan and request your EOB (explaination of benefits) statement.

And I don't know about the tax bread. I have heard about it, but you would have to itemize your taxes, keep amazing records, and be really careful with the IRS rules. So I just don't bother.....

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Ditto. You just have to call your insurance company and request your EOB statement. But I have BC/BS (but they go by state, like BC/BS of California, or BC/BS of Virginia) and I know that they don't cover food...they don't cover much, like lab work, and there is a copay on x-rays (for my plan anyway).....

And keep in mind that you might have to pay a higher premium for your insurance if they know you have Celiac Disease, as some companies see it as a liability. I have made it a point to try to keep that out of my insurance paperwork.

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Good article to link to.

You can use pretax dollars through a flexible spending account to be reimbursed for the DIFFERENCE in cost between regular food and gluten-free foods. You do need a note of medical necessity from a doctor. I signed up for a flexible spending account next year and plan to do this primarily with the flours and maybe pasta since I don't buy a lot of the prepackaged gluten-free foods anymore. 1 pound of rice flour or tapioca starch, whatever, costs a lot more than a pound of regular flour. :)

It's still your money that you're being reimbursed with, but you are saving whatever your tax rate is by paying with pretax dollars. So it's like a 25% (or more) discount.

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Blue Shield has many, many different plans, and it depends which one that you are a part of. (For instance, I stayed with the same company (which was providing my employer-provided health insurance), but moved to a different state. The coverage in the new state was a different - and not as good - plan. Still good compared to most of the HMO's, but not the coverage I had before.)

You'll have to call the company with your insurance information to ask for the details.

I've never, however, heard of an *insurance* company covering the cost of the diet. There are a couple of things at play - particularly that the diet does not require any special foods; you can eat whole, unprocessed produce, meats, dairy, and gluten-free grains (like rice and corn) that are available at any store and make up a very healthy diet. Because of this, there are questions by many groups of the justifiability of allowances for specialty foods. (No, I'm not making the argument right now, just saying it's controversial.)

There may be allowance in the US tax law for deduction of the extra expense above and beyond the normal item if you itemize your medical deductions. There are a lot of restrictions on this, however. You have to be spending at least 7.5% of your adjusted gross income in medical expenses (so you can to the medical deduction), you have to have a valid medical diagnosis from your doctor to submit, and you have to itemize the cost of all items (such as "$3 deduction for gluten-free loaf of bread that cost $5 where a normal loaf costs $2). Realize that this puts you at risk for audits, as the IRS seems to flag these returns. Additionally, this allows you to only make deductions - reduce what you have to pay taxes on - it does not give you money to cover the cost of the foods.

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