Every insurance plan is different in what they cover and how they support breastfeeding moms. Although coverage of breast pumps is still relatively new to insurance companies, things are getting better every day as fewer plans are able to maintain their grandfathered status and more insurers are recognizing the benefits of breastfeeding and expanding their options. If you’re pregnant or a new mom and don’t know where to start, here are the basics of breastfeeding coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
FACT: Insurance providers are required to cover a breast pump and breastfeeding support for moms.
This means that if you have a private or commercial insurance carrier, you have a right to a breast pump and lactation support (such as consultations with a Lactation Professional). Some plans will also cover breastfeeding supplies and pump accessories – it never hurts to ask, and your voice makes a difference. If certain supplies and support aren’t covered by your insurance plan, know that these necessities are considered medical expenses and are tax-deductible.
FACT: You have time to educate and empower yourself. Although many insurance plans only provide a pump after your baby is born, you can get a pump, supplies, and support for the duration of your breastfeeding journey.
The weeks leading up to and after your baby arrives can be a whirlwind. But if you weren’t able to get your breast pump right away, don’t stress – it’s not too late. Almost all plans also cover lactation counseling without a co-pay, so visits with a Lactation Consultant are also covered for as long as you need them. Of course, it never hurts to plan ahead and do your research. As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, give your insurance provider a call to see what is covered and what the process will be to get what you need.
FACT: It’s easier than ever to get connected with your pump.
Medela offers an easy search tool that allows you to find suppliers near you that work with your insurance provider. You can also call your insurance provider to ask about which medical suppliers are compatible with your plan. If you’re running into problems or your insurer won’t cover the pump you want, prescriptions are powerful! Talk to your healthcare provider about your desire to breastfeed and see if they can write a prescription for a double-electric Medela breast pump. If the pump you want is out of stock or not available at the suppliers your insurer sent you to, you may be able to be reimbursed for a pump you buy at a retail store. You have options, so don’t settle and don’t be afraid to push back if you’re not happy.
Did your insurance provider cover a breast pump or other breastfeeding supplies? Share your experience with us in the comments below.