Monday, September 21, 2015

Getting a Free Breastpump from an Insurance Company: It's Harder Than You Thought

I get this statement all the time as a lactation store owner, " Getting a free breast pump from my insurance company is harder than I thought."  I hear it from moms every day.  Many insurance companies  representatives tell moms to find out who takes my insurance instead of giving them an accurate list.  Or if they do offer a list, the insurance company does not have the pump they wanted in stock or offer that model at all.  Another issue is that when the mom does get her pump, it doesn't come with any extras.  No cooler carrier to take back and forth to work or breast pump replacement parts are provided.   In other words, the insurance companies pare down the pumps to keep costs down leaving moms unprepared when their valves go down the disposal.

Lactation Connection offers the largest selection of breast pump replacement parts around including brands like Ameda, Hygeia, Spectra, Bailey, ARDO to name a few of the more popular brands.  You may want to bookmark these links so you have access once you finally get your insurance pump. You are going to need it!  As for the pump itself, below is a list of the most popular health insurance companies:

  • UnitedHealth Group
  • Kaiser Foundation Group 
  • Anthem Inc. (Formerly Wellpoint Inc. Group)
  • Aetna Group 
  • Humana Group 
  • HCSC Group 
  • Cigna Health Group 
  • Highmark Group 
  • Blue Shield of California Group 
  • Independence Blue Cross Group 
  • Centene Corp Group 
  • HIP Insurance Group 
  • BCBS of New Jersey Group 
  • BCBS of Michigan Group 
  • Guidewell Mutual Holdings Group 
  • California Physicians’ Service  
  • Wellcare Group 
  • Carefirst Inc. Group
  • Health Net of California, Inc. 
  • Molina Healthcare Inc. Group 
  • UHC of California 
  • Lifetime Healthcare Group 
  • BCBS of Massachusetts Group 
  • Metropolitan Group 
  • Cambia Health Solutions Inc. 

  • In order to secure a pump through these insurance companies some require a pregnancy notification form to be filled out such as Anthem.  The company you contact below will know whether or not this is necessary.  To reduce your time and headache in getting your pump, go to these companies first and then call your insurance company so you know what forms you need or what questions to ask. The following companies bill all or most of the insurance companies listed above, but remember to bookmark Lactation Connection so you can order an extra double pump kit, valves, diaphragms, filters or tubing as needed.  If your pump uses a duckbill shaped valve, plan on replacing it every 6 weeks.  If your pump uses a filter, plan on replacing it every 8-12 weeks.  Other breast pump parts are replaced as needed for convenience or if they get lost or destroyed; but it is best to have at least one or two of every pump kit part in reserve if you rely on your pump for working or are exclusively pumping.  The companies below offer quality brands like Ameda, Hygeia, Spectra, and ARDO, but may also offer Medela whose insurance pump quality has been called into question as of late and the do not settle for brands like Tomy and Nuk. 

    Acelleron Medical Products
    Phone Number: 877-932-6327

    Aeroflow Healthcare Breast Pumps

    Phone Number: 844-867-9890

    Phone Number: 877-773-1972

    Edgepark® Medical Supplies 
    Phone Number: 800-321-0591

    Phone Number:  888-344-3434

    National Rehab 
    Phone Number: 800-451-6510 option 9

    Shield Healthcare
    Phone Number: 800-765-8775

    Sterling Medical
    Phone Number: 800-216-5500

    If your insurance company allows you to purchase a breast pump and then file for reimbursement, and you can wait 30-60 days for your money; it is always best to pay for your pump instead of getting a "free". Breast pumps like the Hygeia EnJoye LBI are going to include a lithium ion rechargeable battery, a premium cooler bag, universal bottle adapters and other extra parts that the insurance company Hygeia Q will not include. And sometimes you can even get an allotment towards purchasing a higher quality DME pump such as the Hygeia EnDeare,  Ameda Elite or even an Ameda Platinum which is the best pump on the market today, including the Medela Symphony which is inferior in cycles per minute and suction to the Ameda Platinum.  It pays to do what you are doing right now, getting information and getting your ducks in a row.  Lactation Connection is a private pay DME and therefore provides appropriate insurance codes on your receipt for ease in filing for reimbursement, but always check with your insurance company to see if this type of reimbursement is available before purchasing.

    And if the brand or model you want is harder to find, call or email the manufacturer for information on DME's they recommend.

    Happy Nurturing!

    Friday, September 11, 2015

    Sleep Bras for Breastfeding: All Night-time Nursing Bras Not All Created Equal

    Hello, Mamas!

    When you get ready for breastfeeding one of the top things on your list should be a night-time nursing bra.  These are useful in your last trimester and through the first three months of breastfeeding for most women and those who leak beyond the first 6-8 weeks or those who are larger busted will want to continue to use them throughout their breastfeeding journey.   The most common reasons moms choose to wear a bra at night is bi-lateral letdown. When you begin breastfeeding and are nursing on one side, you will let down and leak on the other side until the period of leakage subsides which is after 6-8 weeks of nursing.  Colostrum can begin leaking anytime in the last trimester so having a sleep bra then is also helpful.

    Here is what you need to look for in a night nursing bra:

    1.  Easy nursing access.  You won't want hooks to fidget with at 3 am so you will want a sleep nursing bra that just pulls down to nurse.

    2.  Straps that stay in place.  You will want something that has a u-shaped back so that the straps will not slide off your shoulders when you pull down the cups.

    3.  Double layered cups.  Here is where most sleep bras for breastfeeding fail the test.  they are cheaply made with only one layer of fabric.  Even with nursing pads, you will want the second layer for absorption and modesty in case you need to answer the door in your pj's.  The bra featured in this blog is the Amamante Night & Day Nursing Bra which is a premium made in the USA brand without a premium pricetag!

    4.  No abrasive seams or itchy elastic.  You will want a covered elastic band and seams should not cross the nipple area.

    5.  Darted contoured cups.  This allows for a better fit and helps keep the nursing pads in place while you are nursing.

    6.  Breathable fabric such as cotton, microfiber or rayon blends help keep you from getting a yeast infection while breastfeeding. Yeast grows in a warm moist environment so wearing a bra with polyester cups or wearing washable nursing pads that are not 100% cotton or bamboo is not advisable.

    When should you buy your sleep bras for breastfeeding?  Anytime you begin to leak colostrum in the last trimester, I would go ahead and purchase.  If you are wanting to ensure that your sleep bra fits after you deliver, measure and purchase your nursing bra in the last 3-4 weeks or pregnancy.  Sleep bras are inexpensive so you may want to purchase one a size larger as well so that you have something that will fit during the three days your milk first comes in.  This engorgement only lasts 48-72 hours, but having a nursing bra you can wear is vital.

    Happy Nurturing!