JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Parents know all too well how the cost of baby formula can weigh on a monthly budget. A single 14-oz. can of formula can cost anywhere from $15 to $20. It’s worse for parents whose babies rely on hypoallergenic formula, which can often cost between $40 to $60 per can.

Babies and toddlers with digestive conditions rely on hypoallergenic formulas, commonly made by brands like Neocate, Enfamil and Elecare. These meal replacement formulas are recommended or prescribed by doctors and are covered by insurance plans, including TRICARE, the health insurance provider for active and retired military members and their families.

Despite the prices, the government has been forking over $420 for each 14-oz. can and one military family is wondering why.

Military mother shocked by bill

On Neocate’s website, a 14-oz. hypoallergenic can can be purchased for $46. Yet, one local military mom – who wished to remain anonymous to protect her military job – says her TRICARE plan has been paying over $420 for the same size of formula. She told First Coast News she made this discovery after looking at her insurance paperwork and noticing a $6,400 charge for 15 cans of Neocate formula for her special needs child.

The military mother questioned why federal money was being used to pay about ten times more for a product. Her shock, however, was not shared by TRICARE or Bioscrip, Neocate’s manufacturing company.

First Coast News’ On Your Side team reached out to TRICARE officials with the Department of Defense. A spokesperson said Neocate, along with other similar products, are the few items that doesn’t have a set nationwide price. As a result, it creates a rate for each state using claims data.

In other words, instead of being priced by…