Free Breast Pumps for Moms Thanks to New Healthcare Law!

This Just In 59

breast pumpJust under nine years ago, I returned to my full-time job after having a baby. And I brought with me a key piece of equipment that helped me manage my work/parenting balance: A breast pump. I was lucky enough to find a used pump, so I wasn't out hundreds of dollars for the kind of electric pump that helps you express milk quickly enough to make the whole process manageable.

Right now, millions of mothers to babies are returning to work. Many of them are committed to breastfeeding -- and today there's one exciting piece of news that can help them. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, as of January 1, insurance companies are required to cover breast pumps.

Free breast pumps for everyone! Okay, not exactly. Just if you're fortunate enough be covered by health insurance already. But if you are, you're covered not just for breastfeeding support equipment, but also for consultants. Most likely that's just for consultants already part of your insurance network, but hey -- that's still progress. Have you ever priced out a lactation consultant? Yipes. I couldn't afford one.

This coverage could make the difference between breastfeeding for a full year or not breastfeeding at all for some women.

Some might say, "The government shouldn't be paying for breast pumps!" To which I say, YO! I'm talking about private health insurance, not Medicaid. To clarify, in case it wasn't obvious, this isn't about the government paying for breast pumps. Health insurance companies will cover them -- or they should be, anyway. We pay them money. They cover certain equipment and services. And guess what? This is equipment a lot of women want covered. (WIC provides some breastfeeding equipment and services, but that's not part of this legislation.)

And it's a smart investment all around. We all know the health benefits of breastfeeding. Enabling more women to breastfeed is preventative care that can save families and insurance money on health care costs over a lifetime. For both moms and kids.

Here's a helpful guide to how you can get your pump covered. Naturally they make it complicated because that's how most plans roll, but it's not impossible. Note: This went into effect for some back in August.

Would it make a difference to you if your health insurance covered breast pumps and equipment?


Image via planet oleary/Flickr

baby health, breastfeeding, in the news


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fleur... fleurdelys3110

Again with the "free". NOTHING is free you gullible fool.

Doomy234 Doomy234

I dont know... I dont think that breastfeeding equipment qualifies as a healthcare necessity. Yes, I understand all the benefits of breastfeeding, and I am all for breastfeeding. But to me this doesnt qualify as something that is "necessary". I feel the same way about birth control. This is just my opinion.

Jespren Jespren

Yes! Finally the gate around the breastpump tree will be thrown open and we all can go collect ourselves a free...oh, they don't grow on free-range trees? Then I guess this is just another government intrusion into private businesses and private affairs. If there was enough consumer want for it to be profitable for businesses, then it would already be in place, all this will do is artificially raise prices because it's offering 'free' stuff that the market can't naturally afford.

Autum... Autumnleaves87

Dear Fleur:

Take your right wing nut job blinders off. She clarified that they aren't "free"... Or did you just read the title and get your panties in a bunch??

"We pay them money. They cover certain equipment and services."

Who's the gullible one??

nonmember avatar MammaMel

Breast pumps ARE a nessesity for WORKING mothers. No child should be denied breastmilk because their mother has to work to provide for them-and PAY TAXES and PAY FOR THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE THAT IS COVERING SAID PUMPS (seriously, health insurance coverage does not equal coming from YOUR taxes kthanks). This is FANTASTIC! It is a HUGE step to a healthier, leaner America. And yes, breastfeeding IS a public health issue! Healthier babies=healthier adults in the future=LOWER health care premiums! And breastfed babies tend to be a healthier weight as adults. One note to the blogger, "a year PLUS", breastfeeding SHOULD go longer than a year (WHO recommends at least 2 years, and countries with longer breastfeeding norms and more breastfed babies also tend to be healthier)

lulou lulou

This is already in place in many companies that have lactation programs because its a smart preventative care measure.  Less sickness in the kids means less "sick days" for the parents.  It also saves the insurance companies $ on paying for the sick kids appts, prescriptions etc.  Plus many companies know this helps retain their top female employees and get them back to work sooner.

 The issue isnt so  much that there isnt enough customer want or that its not profitable, its lack of education or support for nursing. 


aponder aponder

I got free formula on WIC but couldn't  get a decent breast pump.  I am glad they are giving them to women wouldn't it save money in the long run?

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

Mine covered them already, choice of a free pump or a free car seat. I have a pump that I got half price through my husbands company's lactation program. It's good business sense, they got us a cheap pump at probably very little out of pocket cost to them and in return they get an employee who is less likely to take time off with a sick baby. I know they've retained several female employees because of the program too which saves a bundle on hiring and training costs.

It just makes sense for insurance companies to cover them. They spend a few hundred on them but are likely to save even more because the babies are going to be less sick and they won't require expensive prescription formulas if they can't tolerate regular formula. I suspect it saves them money in the long run.

Doomy234 Doomy234

No, MammaMel, it is not a necessity. It is a CHOICE for a mother to work and a CHOICE to breastfeed. There are alternatives for those who CHOOSE to live different lifestyles. I dont mind it being covered, I just think that healthcare coverage should cover medical necessities, not lifestyle choices.

momof... momof030404

My children were not BF and are never ever sick. My cousin bf FOREVER and her kids are ALWAYS sick. I give it 10 maybe 15 more years and new studies come out saying new things :) As for this being a neccesity for WORKING moms, so is childcare, luch, gas, a way to get to and from, days off for sick/well baby visits......who covers all THAT?

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