So you’re an expecting mother and you intend to breast pump to provide your liquid gold (breast milk) for your baby. This is a particularly easy process, all you have to do is buy a breast pump around your due date. however, there’s more than one way to get your pump and a few options maaaay give you a free breast pump!
How To Buy A Breast Pump
1. Getting A Breast Pump Through Insurance
Did you know that you may qualify to receive a breast pump through insurance? They are considered to be a medical device and are covered under the Affordable Care Act! Meaning most insurance policies will deem them as a medical necessity if prescribed by your doctor and there are two ways to get a breast pump through insurance.
Getting Your Breast Pump Through Insurance Yourself
You can take charge and pick out your breast pump yourself and then send the receipt to your insurance provider for reimbursement. Just know that at first, you will need to get a prescription from a breast pump from your doctor. But before you do that be sure to ask your insurance provider a few questions:
- What amount will your insurance cover towards a pump? Different policies will cover different amounts towards the purchase of a breast pump.
- What types of breast pumps are covered? Your insurance provider may only cover certain breast pump brands.
- Can you purchase a more expensive breast pump and pay the differences? Some insurance policies may allow you to pick a breast pump that’s more expensive than the amount that they will cover, both others will not.
- When can you get your breast pump? Different policies will allow you to get your pump at different times according to your due date. For example, some providers will allow you to get your breast pump six weeks before your due date while others require you to wait until your baby is born!
Pros: You will get to go into a store, pick your pump, and take it home all in the same day.
Cons: You will have to file your receipt, get a prescription from your doctor, wait for a reimbursement, and make sure you follow all the steps to have your breast pump covered.
Getting Your Breast Pump Through Insurance With A DME
A DME is a durable medical equipment provider. They work with patients and insurance providers to ensure that medical devices are properly covered by insurance.
Generally, DMEs will provide your device and then bill your insurance provider for it. All you have to do is complete a few simple steps.
- Find a supplier that covers your insurance and contact them.
- A representative will contact you with your options. You can select a breast pump based on your coverage or pay the difference for an upgrade.
- Your DME representative will submit all of the necessary paperwork to your doctor and insurance provider.
- Wait for your breast pump to arrive.
Pros: You don’t have to put any money down upfront unless you would like to pay the difference for a more expensive breast pump. You don’t have to file any paperwork or make any phone calls.
Cons: You may have to wait for your pump depending on when your insurance provider will allow the DME to mail it to you. Your options may be limited to your insurance coverage or the breast pump manufacturers that the DME works with.
2. Use Your HSA/FSA Account
FSA and HSA accounts are both tax-advantaged accounts that allow people to pay for qualifying medical equipment and services. Including deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and more. Both accounts are funded through your insurance plan. They are taken from your paycheck, pretax. However, they do have their differences.
FSA or Flexible Spending Arrangement accounts operate under a use it or lose it policy. Any of the balance left over at the end of the year is forfeited. You may also lose your FSA funds upon changing jobs.
You can use your FSA to purchase a breast pump and other accessories, including breast pump upgrade options if you would like a breast pump that cost more than your insurance policy allows. Also, you can only make changes to your FSA account during your open enrollment period.
Pros: This is pretax spending, allowing you to save money on medical purchases. It’s a good way to budget for upcoming medical expenses.
Cons: You may need a designated debit card for your FSA account to make the purchase. You don’t have to use a DME, but either way, you may have to submit your receipt to your insurance provider.
HSA or Health Savings Accounts are not available to everyone. You have to be on a high deductible insurance plan to qualify. As of 2018, to qualify your deductible must be $1,350 or more for an individual or $2,700 or more for a family. Your funds will roll over and you will not forfeit them if you change jobs.
You can purchase a breast pump and other accessories with your HSA account. If you want a breast pump upgrade option through insurance, you can use your HSA account to cover the difference.
Pros: You don’t need a prescription for a breast pump to purchase one with your HSA account. You will save money by purchasing items with your pretax allowance. You can easily upgrade to a more expensive breast pump.
Cons: You may need to use a debit card linked to your HSA account. If you do not have a card for your HSA account you will need to submit your receipt for reimbursement.
If all of this insurance stuff sounds like a hassle that you would like to avoid, you can always get your breast pump with old fashioned cash! Just walk up into any store or use any online site to pay for your pump!
Pros: You get to choose any breast pump you want and instantly receive it.
Cons: DMEs provide educational materials and troubleshooting to ensure that your breastfeeding journey is successful. By buying your pump outright in a store it’s up to the manufacturer’s customer service representatives to assist you. Plus, that money is coming out of your pocket, when you could save by getting your pump at little to no cost.
If you can’t afford the cost of a breast pump you can finance it to make payments over time. This option works at your local department store and can be used with certain DMEs that offer financing programs. You can use a credit card for this process or work with a financing firm.
Pros: You can instantly get your breast pump without a prescription and split the costs into monthly payments. Choose any pump you want!
Cons: You will have to remember to make monthly payments on your pump, which may be a hassle while caring for a newborn. You may have interest that builds up over time, increasing the cost of your breast pump. Also, you will miss out on saving through insurance!