Posted: Mar 27, 2009
Did you know that you can use tax-advantaged dollars through a flexible spending account to pay for over-the-counter cough syrup - but not for cord blood banking services?
Hopefully this will soon change, thanks to the Family Cord Blood Banking Act, which was introduced in Congress on Wednesday, March 25th by U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, Wally Herger, Artur Davis, Bill Pascrell Jr. and Mike Thompson. The legislation would amend the current tax laws to allow individuals and couples to use tax-advantaged dollars to pay for umbilical cord blood banking services through flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health savings accounts (HSAs), health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) or the medical expenses tax deduction.
The bill has our strong support because it has important implications for the way families pay for cord blood banking services, and for research involving cord blood stem cells:
• The cost of cord blood banking can be a challenge for families on fixed incomes. By categorizing it as a qualified medical expense, the cost of cord blood banking could be decreased by as much as 30 percent, depending on a family’s tax bracket. Lowering the cost of cord blood banking empowers parents to make decisions about their family’s health based on the life-saving potential of these cells, not necessarily on cost.
• Regenerative medicine research and clinical trials involving cord blood require children to have access to their own stem cells. By making it easier for families to bank their cord blood, the bill could accelerate the time table for new research involving cord blood stem cells.
If you’d like to help, contact your Representative of Congress and encourage them to support the Family Cord Blood Banking Act! For information on how to contact your Congressperson, visit the U.S. House of Representatives “Write Your Representative” site or call 202-224-3121.
CBR press release in support of the Family Cord Blood Banking Act
Rep. Kind’s official statement on the Family Cord Blood Banking Act