If you’re a mom, and chances are you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise, then you’ve probably heard by now that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has a provision to cover breast pumps for new mothers. That is one gigantic high-five for breastfeeding women all over the country, considering how important it is for some women to pump regularly. Not all mothers need to use a breast pump, but for some moms having a good pump can be the difference between breastfeeding and NOT breastfeeding. As a full-time working mom, I definitely would not still be breastfeeding my 6-month-old if it wasn’t for my double electric pump.
A good pump does not come cheap. Many popular double-electric pumps can cost as much as $300-$400, with hospital-grade pumps going much higher. Being able to use health insurance to cover that cost is a huge relief for many families on a budget. But let’s be honest, life is complicated enough as a new mom without having to navigate the rules and regulations of health insurance coverage. To help you take advantage of the new law, I’ve done a little research for you.
Your first step is to contact your insurance plan’s member services department to find out what you are entitled to under your plan. Most providers have a toll-free number (usually on the back of your insurance card) that you can call to find out more about your coverage and benefits. Here are some questions you should ask:
– What type of pump can you get (hospital-grade, manual, electric, etc.)?
– What brands can you choose from (Medela, Ameda, etc.)?
– Can you purchase a pump and submit a receipt for reimbursement? If so, how much will you be reimbursed for?
– Can you submit a claim for a pump you have already purchased?
– Where can you buy the breast pump?
You may need to be fairly persistent in order to find out what your options really are. After all, your insurance company would probably prefer not to have to pay for anything. But as a customer, you are entitled to know what coverage is available to you and to use that coverage when needed.
Understanding health insurance can become quite the mind-game. To help you prepare for the challenge, Medela has put together a ton of useful information on their Website, including how to talk to your insurance company and how to file a claim.
Once you know the what, where and when, it is up to you to find the option that is the best fit for your needs and still meets the requirements of your insurance plan. Choosing a breast pump can be a challenge as well, and your choice depends on several factors including how often you’ll pump, where you’ll pump and how much time you’ll have available. If you are not sure what to look for, Babycenter.com has a great guide on how to buy a breast pump.
What have your experiences been like when dealing with your insurance company? Have you been able to get coverage for a new breast pump?