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Feb 282013
 February 28, 2013  Posted by  Family, Hot Deals

If you plan to go back to work full-time after your baby is born and continue breastfeeding, a double electric breast pump can help you get the job done fast and efficiently and help maintain your milk supply. But the price tag — as much as $500 for a decked-out Medela — can be a budget buster, especially when you’re busy stocking up on other big-ticket baby items such as a crib, car seat and stroller. Fortunately, there are smart ways to save on this breast-feeding mommy’s must-have.

  1. Get a rental. Breastfeeding can be unpredictable, but renting a breast pump can help with the learning curve without requiring a major initial investment. Why not rent? Renting a breast pump is now free. Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans must cover the cost of renting a breast pump without requiring cost-sharing such as copays. Rental pumps are different from single-user pumps; they’re built to last for multiple users and designed to prevent cross-contamination. Each mom must supply her own collection kit to attach to the pump, and that’s covered by the Affordable Care Act, too. Check with a lactation consultant or the hospital where you plan to give birth for rental details. The downside? Rental pumps aren’t as portable as single-user purchase pumps so schlepping one to work might not be doable.
  2. Milk your FSA and HSA accounts. If you’d rather buy a breast pump and have a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health spending account (HSA) through your job, the cost of a breast pump is likely a covered expense. An FSA is a type of tax-advantaged financial account that allows an employee to set aside a portion of pre-tax earnings to pay for qualified medical expenses as established in the health plan. An HSA is a tax-advantaged medical savings account available to taxpayers enrolled in high-deductible health plans.Unlike HSAs, FSAs are use-it-or-lose it accounts. You have to spend the funds you allot for the account, up to $5,000 in most states, each year or lose the funds. FSAstore, an e-commerce site that’s stocked exclusively with products that are FSA-eligible, estimates that consumers collectively forfeit roughly $400 million back to employers each year because they didn’t deplete their FSAs by year’s end. Ouch! Buying a breast pump and other baby supplies through your FSA can help you avoid leaving money on the table. Before buying a breast pump, be sure to contact your employer to determine what’s covered under your specific FSA/HSA and the steps you need to take to be reimbursed. Check your health insurance policy, too. Maybe it covers the cost of a buying a breast pump.
  3. Put a breast pump on your baby registry. Hey, let other people buy a pump for you. If you feel funny registering for something so expensive in this economy, keep in mind that several well-wishers may pool their money, buying the pump as a group gift. Another alternative is to register for money at a site such as Deposit a Gift and use your monetary gifts to buy a breast pump on sale. Or, if nothing else, join a rebate site such as Ebates and get 2.5 to 3.5 percent back in cash on your breast pump investment.

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Sandra Gordon

Sandra Gordon is the author of nine books, including Save a Bundle: 50+ Ways to Save Big on Baby Gear and the 8th, 9th and 10th editions of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products. Besides helping new parents gear up for less, Sandra blogs about shopping for ShopSmart magazine and writes about health and nutrition for major magazines and Websites, such as Parents, Arthritis Today, Self, Your Teen, and Vitality. Sandra grew up learning about saving money. Her Midwestern mom, a home-ec major, ran an efficient household, which included couponing, rebating, eating lots of leftovers and laundering Ziploc bags to reuse them. Sandra isn’t quite as frugal but she does have the good-deal gene.

  One Response to “3 ways new moms can save at the (breast) pump”

  1. Just a note – the 2013 limit, via the Affordable Health Care Act, is $2500 – everywhere. Gone are the days you could put unlimited funds in. When our micropreemie was born, we really needed it, especially for her first three years. We put $17,000 in our FSA one year!!!

    I used a rental pump for her, which was covered at the time, since she definitely needed the breast milk. It was wonderful! If your baby spends any time in the NICU, you can use their pumps (with your kit) at the hospital and yours at home – and not lug around the big thing. ;-)

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