Thursday, September 25, 2014

Free Breast Pumps: Insurance Company Breast Pump Review from the Experts

     After the Affordable Care Act took effect more moms are getting a "free" breast pump.  We get a lot of phone calls asking us which pumps on their insurance are best so we thought we would give you a review of the common ones out there.  After all, I personally have over 20 years experience using and selling different breast pumps and have seen breast pump companies come and go so you may benefit from my experience.

1.  Hygeia EnJoye Breast Pump - This is the number one choice for insurance company breast pumps because even the least expensive Q model has higher suction than most pumps at 250 milligrams of mercury and faster speed at 80 cycles per minute on it's highest settings.  Hygeia offer a closed system with a bacteriostatic filter so no bacteria can reach the milk and qualifies it for multi-person use.  So in that regard, you get a quality breast pump for free.  What you don't get.  Insurance companies do not give you the Hygeia EnJoye LBI which is the best model due to its integrated lithium ion battery pack.  You can add a Hygeia External Battery Pack to the Q and Hygeia EPS breast pump models, but this is a AA battery pack and not the lithium ion battery.  As with any insurance company breast pump pump, you either do not get a tote bag, or you get a cheaply made version of the deluxe tote that comes when you buy retail.  Another item that is not included in the insurance pump are the Hygeia bottle adapter rings to allow you to pump into standard size bottles instead of the Hygeia wide mouth bottles, but these are sold separately as well.  Large and X-Large Hygeia flanges are available.

2.  Ameda Purely Yours - This would be the second pump I would recommend because it does what most pumps do which is 220 milligrams of mercury and faster speed at 60 cycles per minute on it's highest settings.  It is a closed system with an Ameda diaphragm for protection against bacteria, but since this is not a filter it does not qualify as a multi-user breast pump.  This is most likely the case because if the bottle of expressed milk fell over, milk could theoretically enter the Ameda tubing.   Ameda Custom Size Flanges are available.

2.  Spectra S2 Breast Pump - New to the marketplace, the Spectra S2 breast pump is a good pump for moms who have never pumped before or who felt more comfortable with their previous breast pump at lower settings.  While it will do the higher 220 milligrams of mercury, it functions better on lower settings because the suction is not a constant pull and release, but more of a succession of short draws much like the peristaltic wave of the baby’s tongue.  The company's slogan is "Our pumps don't suck, they suckle!".  It is also easy to use because you just turn it on, put the massage setting on to get your milk flowing and then change the suction or speed to your liking.   I would recommend this pump for moms who have had nipple abrasion, for those who don’t use their pump on the high setting, and for those looking for something with a more natural feel than the traditional pump.  It offers the very effective Spectra Backflow Protector filtration so it is a closed system and approved for multi-person use.  I love the night light feature on this pump form moms pumping at night.  It offers a the light right where you need them, on the controls at the pump and includes two settings for additional lumination.  Additional flange sizes are available to custom fit every mom.    

3.  Ameda Purely Yours - This would be the third pump I would recommend because it does what most pumps do which is 220 milligrams of mercury and faster speed at 60 cycles per minute on it's highest settings.  It is a closed system with an Ameda diaphragm for protection against bacteria, but since this is not a filter it does not qualify as a multi-user breast pump.  This is most likely the case because if the bottle of expressed milk fell over, milk could theoretically enter the Ameda tubing. This pump is slightly louder than the Spectra and Hygeia pumps, but still a quality efficient breastpump.  Ameda Custom Size Flanges are available.


4.  Medela Pump In Style - This is by no means my first choice for several reasons.  It is not a closed system and can and does harbor bacteria and mold.   While the pump does offer 220 milligrams of mercury in the strength of suction and 60 cycles per minute for speed, the insurance company version does not come in any type of tote that can hold your milk or even your breast pump part.  While good cooler tote bag are available from various companies, they can cost as much or more than a good breast pump.  It is important that the cooler tote you choose is one that keeps the milk cold for a minimum of 10-12 hours which makes them harder to come by.  On the upside, Medela PersonalFit breast shields are available to accommodate various nipple sizes.  And finally, the Medela company does not support the World Health Code or the International Lactation Consultants Association standards. 

5.  First Years Breast Pump - No, no, no.  Just NO! 

If your insurance company has pumps on their list that we have not reviewed here,  please let us know and we will do our best to review it.  What if you want a better pump?  An alternative to getting an insurance pump on a list, check with your insurance company to see if they allow you to purchase from an alternative DME and file for reimbursement.  Or if you have an HRA or HSA credit card, breast pumps qualify as a medical expense.  This way you can get a pump like the Hygeia EnJoye LBI Breast Pump with the deluxe tote, bottle size adapters and the lithium ion rechargeable battery making pumping on the go much easier.

Best wishes in your search for a breast pump,
~Tanya


3 comments:

  1. Your first suggestion mentions the suction rate as being an important factor when choosing a pump. I can see how that would be important. Do you know of any way to determine the appropriate rate of suction without relying on trial and error? MD Choice Medical Supply

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    2. Yes, some manufactures actually sell a pressure gauge to their breast pump rental stations. We have one and it is very helpful. It has been many years, but I think we got ours from Medela or Ameda. As a medical supply company, you will want one. Moms should not need one since the manufacturers should disclose what the suction is on their pump. If it is not listed in the information, they can call the manufacturer. Best wishes!

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