Are Breast Milk Bottles Covered Under Health Insurance?

Newborns are expensive. After I had my daughter, I cringed every time our credit card statement came in. The diapers, the wipes, the plethora of pacifiers that my sweet child would inevitably spit out — they all added up fast. Thankfully, due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most new moms are now eligible for a free breast pump via their health insurance company, which can save a ton of money. But breastfeeding-related items can get expensive as well, so are breast milk bottles covered under health insurance, too? The answer will depend on your specific insurance plan.

When the ACA was signed into law in March 2013, it required insurers to fully cover the cost of breast pumps — meaning no copays or cost-sharing — as noted by What To Expect. (Some "grandfathered" health plans, however, are exempt from this requirement. Contact your insurance company to find out if you have one of these policies.) A free breast pump does sound pretty amazing, especially because certain devices can cost hundreds of dollars or more, but coverage will vary from insurer to insurer. Some companies, like Tricare, offer more generous breastfeeding benefits that include an electric or manual pump along with bottles and bottle caps related to pumping. Other companies, however, may only provide a manual breast pump without any accompanying supplies like storage bags or bottles, which means you probably have to pay for those out of pocket.

To find out if your insurer will pay for breast milk bottles, be sure to call the company and specifically ask about your policy's coverage. No matter what your plan, you might consider asking if pumping-related breast milk bottles are covered by your insurance plan (including bottles, bottle caps, and nipples), and if so, do you need to go through a medical device company to receive your bottles? If you'd like to ask about breast pumps while you're on the phone, the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas provided a list of additional questions.

Babies can cost a lot of money — it's a good thing they're so adorable — but breast pumping has gotten a little less pricey thanks to recent healthcare reforms. While not every insurer will pay for the cost of breast milk bottles, you might be one of the lucky ones with generous coverage. So be sure to call up your insurance provider and ask — you might save enough money to spend on diapers, wipes, and pacifiers.