If you’re in the middle of daydreaming about what to include on your baby registry, one of the one big-ticket items that you’re probably considering is...a breast pump.

Breast pumps are an incredible invention that can help moms express and store milk for their babies, which comes in handy when you need to work or be away from your little one…or if breastfeeding doesn’t work out. But a high-quality breast pump can also be too expensive for many budgets, which is why they reign supreme as one of the most often requested items on a baby registry.

[Related: 10 Super Practical Tips to Make Pumping Suck Less]

But here’s some good news: Many women are able to get a free breast pump through your insurance. Here’s what you need to know about getting a free breast pump through insurance…

What does the Affordable Care Act say about free breast pumps? 

In 2010 President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) into law, and part of that law required that most insurance companies offer a path to a free breast pump for new or expecting moms. The caveat, though, is that not every insurance company is the same so you have to do some research to determine what kind of pump you can get and when you’re able to get your free breast pump. 

Some insurance companies will cover whatever brand or style pump you request while others will have limited options. In most cases, if you ask the right questions (see below) or ask for help from your healthcare provider, you can get access to a pump that will work for you.

How do I get a free breast pump? 

Any expecting or new mom can seek out a free breast pump through their private insurance, Medicaid, WIC program, or local hospital. According to the USDA’s website, women who need a pump are encouraged to contact their insurance provider— including Medicaid since not every state has the same rules governing access to free pumps—and ask the following questions: 

  • Does my plan cover a rental breast pump or one I can keep?
  • Does my plan cover a manual breast pump or electric pump?
  • If I'm renting my breast pump, how long do I get to keep it?
  • When will I be able to get my breast pump: Do I have to wait until after I have my baby, or will it arrive before?
  • Will you send me the breast pump, or do I need to buy it and get reimbursed?
  • Do I need a prescription or pre-authorization from my doctor to get my breast pump covered by insurance?
  • Will my plan take into consideration my doctor's recommendation about what type of breast pump will work best for me?
  • Does my plan cover any other breastfeeding benefits, such as breast pump supplies or counseling and support?
  • Can you send me a list of in-network providers who can offer me lactation support?

It is common for moms to have to ask their doctor to step in and give a referral or write a prescription for a breast pump in order to take advantage of the option to get a free breast pump. If you are asked for a doctor’s approval, don’t panic, that is often part of the process.

What if I want a name-brand breast pump for free? 

Some moms have their hearts set on a specific pump and that is probably because they’ve used certain models or have trusted friends and family who swear by some pumps over others. Three of the biggest brands in the breast pump game are Medela, Aeroflow, and Lansinoh. Each of these companies offers easy-to-use tips online to help moms navigate the insurance world to see if they can get their preferred breast pump for free. 

By clicking through these following pages, moms can quickly assess what their insurance will cover, and they can get help from the breast pump companies in requesting a pump through insurance. To see if your insurance qualifies you for a free breast pump, check out these sites:

What if your insurance won’t cover a free breast pump? 

According to healthcare.gov, “Health insurance plans must provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. These services may be provided before and after birth. This applies to Marketplace plans and all other health insurance plans, except for grandfathered plans.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed coverage for your top pick breast pump. Your insurance could just cover a manual pump, for example, or you might be limited to certain models. 

If your plan doesn’t cover the breast pump that you would like (notably, new wireless pumps like Elvie and Willow aren’t typically covered by insurance), you might be able to use a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account to purchase a pump. Of course, this is still your money, but because that’s pre-tax money, it does save you a tiny bit of money...and when planning for baby every bit of savings counts!

Another item to add to your registry? A SNOO! Learn how this smart baby bed automatically calms crying, helping both babies and their tired parents get more sleep. (Bonus: You can rent SNOO for just dollars a day!)

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