Breast milk is the best first food nutrition you can offer your baby. You know it, your doctor knows it and the healthcare industry knows it too. Breastfeeding support is part of most health insurance plans and is backed by the government. Breast pumps are usually part of this support. Beyond health insurers, government agencies can also be a helpful source for getting a free breast pump if you meet their requirements. Today we’re offering tips to get a free breast pump.
You may have heard stories about women having difficulty getting a breast pump, whether they are uninsured, can’t afford one, or were trapped by bureaucratic red tape. We’re helping you avoid these landmines with tips to get a free breast pump.
Tip #1: Call your Health Insurance Company during Pregnancy
Most health insurance companies are required by law to provide breastfeeding support including a breast pump rental or provide a free breast pump. Under the Affordable Care Act his is the case with most plans except for those who were grandfathered in prior to the legislation.
However, different plans have different rules and requirements for getting your breast pump. Start the process early to ensure you maximize your benefits. Some insurers require documentation from your physician. Some specify whether you can get your pump before or after you deliver. Some plans cover a rental for a certain period of time, while others allow you to select a pump to keep free of charge from authorized medical device vendors. The pump selections are usually limited to certain brands and styles. Also, you may have to pay for the pump and wait to be reimbursed or the vendor may submit the purchase directly to your insurer without you having to fork over a dime.
While you’re on the phone with your insurance company, ask what other pregnancy, postpartum and lactation benefits they offer. The agent may not initiate telling you but if you ask, they should divulge the benefits covered in your plan. Some insurers offer a telephonic nurse to assist you during pregnancy and postpartum lactation consultations via phone or in-person.
Tip #2: Check with your local WIC Office
The USDA’s Women, Infant and Children program has local offices around the country. Designed primary for low-income households, WIC provides healthcare support for all family members, especially lactating mothers and their babies. Sometimes WIC can provide breast pumps to mothers in need free of charge. The lactation supporters range from IBCLCs, lactation counselors and peer counselors, and they help with many breastfeeding support needs for new moms.
Tip #3: Find out if you are Qualified for a Breast Pump through Medicaid
Families on Medicaid may be eligible for a free breast pump if it is a medical necessity. You will likely have to get a doctor’s prescription and prove why you need the breast pump, whether your baby is unable to latch, you’re returning to work, you must be separated from your baby, or you need help boosting your milk supply. Even if you are uninsured by a traditional healthcare company, Medicaid may be able to help.
If you run into problems when trying to get a free breast pump, be persistent. You may want to consult your baby’s pediatrician for advice too. A little extra effort is worth it in the long run for a high ticket item such as a breast pump.