If you plan on breastfeeding, I highly recommend getting a pump. There will always be situations where a pump comes in handy, especially if you’re a working mama.
Here’s some great news: If you have health insurance, you can probably get one free!
How to get a free breast pump
I breastfed two kids and, in both instances, my breast pump has been invaluable. I paid for mine out of pocket, but now the Affordable Care Act has mandated insurance companies to cover the full cost of breast pumps and usually at least one visit to a lactation consultant.
What the law doesn’t say, however, is what kind of pump has to be provided and how many lactation consultant visits they cover. That is left to the insurance company.
Which brings us to the first step of the process in getting your free breast pump.
Step 1: Contact your insurer
The best way to get started is to contact your health insurance provider and talk to them about their breast pump policy. They’ll give you a list of the pumps and suppliers they work with. You also want to ask about their policy with lactation consultants (who are, in my opinion, invaluable).
Regarding the pump, you can buy one on your own, submit it to your insurance for reimbursement, and wait for the check.
Or there’s another option, which I didn’t know about. You can work with a breast pump supplier and pay zero out of pocket.
Which bring us to…
Step 2: Choose a breast pump supplier
There are now breast pump suppliers you can work with directly to get your breast pump for free. The supplier fronts the cost of the breast pump and submits the claim to your insurance company on your behalf. Kinda convenient, right? And given all of the runarounds I’ve heard about getting reimbursed, I think this is a good option.
There are three main providers you can choose from.
1. Lucina Care
Lucina Care specializes in breast pumps and breastfeeding info. They offer pumps by Hygeia, Lansinoh, Melodi, Nuk, Phillips Avent, and Rumble Tuff. They have lots of information on their site and compare the various pumps and which one is best for you. Additionally, you can chat live with an agent on their site if you have questions.
Edgepark specializes in medical supply delivery and offers Medela, Ameda, and TOMY breast pumps. To order with them, you fill out an online form and a representative contacts you to complete the order.
3. Byram Healthcare
Byram Healthcare also does medical supply delivery, including breast pumps. As I went through their online ordering process, I was eligible for three pumps – an Ameda, a Hygeia, and a Medela.
Full disclosure: Lucina Care is a Mama Natural sponsor. But, even if they weren’t, they are definitely my favorite because:
- Lucina Care has the widest selection of the latest breast pump models. More importantly all their pumps are complete kits. Some suppliers only provide the pump and ask you to buy the bottles and accessories separately.
- Lucina Care will take your order anytime during your pregnancy to ensure you’ll have your pump before your baby is born.
- They also have exceptional customer service.
But at the end of the day, you need to find out which providers are covered in your insurance plan
Questions to ask your insurance carrier:
- What kind of pump can I get?
- Can I work with a breast pump supplier? Which suppliers are covered under my insurance?
- Are there certain brands and models that I have to purchase?
- Do I have to purchase your “recommended” pump(s) or can I purchase my own (out-of-network pump)? If so, what is the dollar limit to coverage? What paperwork do you need for reimbursement?
- If I already have a pump, can I submit for reimbursement?
- Do I need to wait for pre-approval before purchasing my pump or meeting with my lactation consultant?
- When can I get my breast pump? Do I have to wait until baby is born?
Some insurance companies will request that your lactation consultant be certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, although according to the law, this isn’t mandatory.
The Health and Human Services Department says insurers cannot deny lactation services simply because they lack trained providers in-network; they are obligated to cover one out of network. An unreasonable delay is also not acceptable.
Need breastfeeding help?
I am excited to see the law support breastfeeding mamas like us. So if you’re pregnant or if your baby is less than 1 year old, definitely contact your insurance company to see which pump you’re eligible for, and which provider you can work with.
BTW, are you planning a baby shower?
Check out my baby gift registry checklist, featuring everything you need and nothing you don’t 😉
How about you?
Did you rely on a breast pump while you were nursing? What brand did you use?