Insurance Changes Spark Breast Pump Shortage

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(DeSoto County, MS) New mothers across the Mid-South can’t seem to get their hands on what they need to help feed their babies.

Breast pumps are selling out like the latest gadget or gizmo at Christmastime.

Mary Nichols welcomed Sophie to the family three months ago, and like so many moms these days, she chose to breastfeed her baby, but it wasn’t as simple as it should be.

“It's frustrating, as a mother you want to do what's best for your child, but you're unable to because insurance won't help you out,” Nichols said.

The machines, which help moms pump and store milk, have been in short supply since the beginning of the year.

The new Affordable Healthcare Act requires insurance companies to provide them, but that’s all it says, so insurance companies have made their own rules about who gets one,  what kind, and where to go to get one.

“I think the first phone calls made were in September, I pretty much called every month til she was born,” Abby Rodman said.

Rodman’s daughter Hannah is almost four months old.

She’s tried since before the baby was born, without luck, to figure out what pump she could get and how to get her insurance company to pay for it.

But like so many new moms, she gave up and bought a used pump from her friend.

“I knew I was going back to work, and if I was going to make breast feeding work, I didn't want to wait until it was time,” said Rodman.

The pumps can cost several hundred dollars, and when you have a newborn, every penny counts.

All the Mid-South moms we spoke with said their insurance company told them to get a pump from the hospital.

But hospitals didn’t have them either.

Moms said they were put waiting lists or just told they were sorry, the manufacturers were overwhelmed.

Christina Glover isn’t due for another two months, but has been trying to get a pump as well, with no luck.

She says she’ll fork out the cash before she chooses anything else for her baby boy on the way.

“It's so much healthier, better for the baby in long run, especially if baby goes to daycare and get ear infections and things like that,” said Glover.

The shortage is winding down.

Methodist Hospital-Germantown and a supply company in Bartlett both say they have the pumps right now.

You still have to make sure your insurance company will let you buy it from them.

Most moms say had the best luck when their doctor wrote a prescription spelling out exactly what they needed.

1 Comment

  • Ginny

    The medical supply company in Bartlett is QH medical supply the phone number is 901-380-5610. They handle all paperwork and filing of insurance. They have 4 double electric breast pumps to choose from and make the experience as easy and quick as possible.

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