How To Get Free Breastfeeding Pumps & Supplies

A very close girlfriend of mine happens to be pregnant right now as well and she told me something recently that sounded too good to be true. She mentioned that, due to some provisions in the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – her insurance was going to cover the cost of her breastfeeding supplies, including a pump!

breastfeeding

Regardless of your feelings about Obamacare, this is exciting news. At least it was for me. As a mommy-to-be who will be trying to breastfeed and work I have been researching higher-end breast pumps and they are EXPENSIVE. The double-electric models (allowing you to pump both breasts at the same time with greater efficiency) can run up to $300 at least.

So all you ladies out there who are expecting, or if you know someone who is expecting, take note. Here’s what I’ve been able to dig up on the expanded maternity coverage provisions of Obamacare.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, under the Affordable Care Act, “women’s preventive health care – such as mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer, prenatal care, and other services – is covered with no cost sharing for new health plans.”

This includes “breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.” More specifically, comprehensive lactation support and counseling by a trained provider during pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period, plus costs for renting breastfeeding equipment.

Some insurance companies are going beyond just covering equipment rentals and offering to cover the cost of some or all of a personal breast pump! United Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest insurance providers, is adopting this approach.

Per the company’s website, “UnitedHealthcare will cover the purchase of a personal, double-electric breast pump at no cost to the member.”

“To rent or purchase breast pumps, members will be required to contact UnitedHealthcare or a network physician, hospital or durable medical equipment (DME) supplier. The physician, hospital or DME supplier will bill UnitedHealthcare directly for reimbursement. Members will not be able to purchase supplies, such as breast pumps, at retail and send the receipt for reimbursement.”

A quick scan of the comment sections of several popular mommy blogs reveals stories of folks getting brand-name equipment like Medela and Ameda using this approach!

Ameda "Purely Yours Ultra" Double Electric Breast Pump with Black Tote

Ameda “Purely Yours Ultra” Double Electric Breast Pump with Black Tote

There are of course, some “catches” with this exciting development. Depending on when your insurance plan “rolled” over – or when the start of your new policy year begins – you may not be eligible for expanded maternity care coverage or a breast pump.

As I learned when I checked into my own eligibility, there are also “grandfathered” insurance plans, which are not required to comply with all of the new ACA guidelines immediately – even though those guidelines were upheld as legal. Here’s an explanation of how those “grandfathered” plans can operate as such.

If, like me, you sadly don’t get to take advantage of this new benefit from the ACA due to “grandfathering” or other conditions that partially exempt your insurance provider, take heart. You may still be able to save some money on your breast feeding equipment!

Many employers offer what are called “flexible spending accounts.” Pre-tax money deposited in such an account can be used to cover the cost of many medical supplies including breast pumps and related equipment! As the New York Times reported, “the Internal Revenue Service announced [in 2011] that it would grant nursing mothers a tax break on pumps and other breastfeeding supplies.”

If you don’t have a flexible spending account, you might still be able to get a tax break. The New York Times also stated that those “without flexible spending accounts may deduct breast-feeding costs if their total unreimbursed medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of their adjusted gross income and they itemize.”

So… all that said, make sure to check with your insurance provider or company HR department to see if you are entitled to a free breast pump or lactation support classes! If not, keep an eye out for extra savings come tax season. Then you can spend the money saved on cute baby clothes!

Ladies, if you’ve tried any of these money-saving techniques for breast feeding, feel free to share your experiences below!

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9 thoughts on “How To Get Free Breastfeeding Pumps & Supplies

  1. This is great news.. wow. I had the Medela double-electric pump and I loved it. I say buy one. You’ll use it enough to justify the cost. I don’t know much about other brands, but Medela is fantastic — the pump works beautifully – never had a problem with it. I pumped at work and it helped me breastfeed both of my children for a year. The only issue I had was the A/C adapter cord (I wrapped it up so much, packing, unpacking, repacking the pump). It split a little, so I just got a new A/C adapter at Radio Shack for $10.

  2. I would like more info on this because me and my husband are trying and I’d we do get pregnant soon I wanna check this out because we don’t make a lot an money

  3. I got the Medela double electric pump; it was the Pump in Style. I would really really really recommend getting the bustier so you can pump both sides at the same time (but go a size smaller so it fits nice and snug). We also ended up buying different bottles to feed our little one, rather than use all the Medela products. Since I couldn’t BF (after many many many tries with a lot of crying involved – that’s another subject!), we were washing both the storage bottles and the other bottles we were using to feed him with. So, it was taking twice as long to divvy out milk to the bottles and then wash and dry the ones they were stored in. My advice is, whatever brand you go with, get the bottles, nipples and other parts that all match. You will save yourself a lot of washing time. Oh – and wash and sterlize the parts before you go into the hospital. I went into labor 3 weeks early and had to have my mother in law wash everything for me so it would be ready when I got home! Make sure they give you an abdominal binder also. It will help “hold everything in” once you’ve had your little one. Best of luck to you! Being a mom is the best thing in the world.

  4. Kerley Medical in Huntsville is a BCBS in-network provider, and they have about 15 Ameda Pumps in stock JUST for insurance mamas. That is awesome!!! At A Nurturing Moment, we are going through the steps to accept FSA cards for pump rental and purchase as well as for galactagogues and other covered supplies.

  5. My oldest daughter is having her first child (my first grandchild) approximately 1 March 2013. I have been following your pregnancy and giving her tips as I hear them. The biggest news was when I sent Amanda the website regarding the breast pumps and insurance and FREE. She checked with her insurance company, and as soon as baby Gwen arrives Amanda can send off for the pump. Thanks so much for this helpful info. Now I am going to check on the diapers and how to save money on those. Be forever blessed Michelle.

    • No problem! I’m glad the information was useful! That’s kind of the point of the whole blog… To help other mommas to be. All the best to your oldest daughter and her little one and thanks for watching WHNT! – Michelle

  6. My insurance did in fact cover the cost of the medela double pump. the medical supply company wanted around 700 for it and i got it completely covered with no copay. i have upmc health insurance.

  7. I live in NY, My insurance did cover it fully, I have health first, & I emailed my doctor’s prescription with my info to A Medical Supply Inc.
    @ sales@amedsupplies.com & within days I received my medela pump in style at my door. They are amazing there sales people have knowledge of all medela nursing pumps & accessories, also with hands free bras. Or call there professional phone system 845-783-6678

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