Preparing for the arrival of a new baby is overwhelming all on it’s lonesome. Add military spouse into the equation, a possible surprise separation and family living 1,047 miles from your current duty station, and you’ve got an explosion of overwhelm.
The last thing you want to worry about is a boatload of TRICARE paperwork to get a breast pump. That’s why I asked The Breastfeeding Shop to come by for a Q&A to share some awesome information with you.
Let’s dive into the easiest possible way to get a breast pump through TRICARE. You know, the easy way that doesn’t involve filing retroactive claims or waiting on hold for 20 minutes while contacting your regional office or leaving the house to obtain a breast pump (Yes, really).
Here we go…
Q: What is the policy lowdown?
A: This policy makes the process so easy for military spouses! TRICARE covers breast pumps and breast pump supplies at no cost for new mothers. This includes moms who adopt an infant and plan to personally breastfeed the baby.
Q: Does it matter if I use TRICARE prime or standard?
A: It doesn’t matter what TRICARE plan you use (TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Standard, the US Family Health Plan, TRICARE Reserve Select, etc.) or your sponsor’s status (active duty, retired, Guard/Reserve).
Q: Do I have to obtain a prescription from my doctor?
A: Well, actually no. If you go through The Breastfeeding Shop, they’ll call your doctor and get the prescription for you. Yes!
Q: What if I have another baby? Do I have to use the same pump?
A: TRICARE covers one manual or standard electric breast pump per birth event (birth or adoption). And if you need it, TRICARE covers electric hospital-grade breast pumps and supplies when needed for mothers and infants:
- Who are separated due to illness
- Who are unable to feed directly from the breast because of medical reasons
When a hospital-grade breast pump is no longer needed, you may be covered for a manual or standard electric breast pump. All you need to do visit The Breastfeeding Shop and they’ll call for a new prescription.
Q: What about everything else…like tubing, bottles and storage bags?
A: TRICARE covers a ton of supplies for up to 36 months after the birth:
- Standard power adapters
- Tubing and tubing adaptors
- Locking rings
- Bottles and bottle caps
- Shield/splash protectors
- Storage bags
TRICARE also covers two breast pump kits per birth event. But here’s the cool part: The Breastfeeding Shop will make sure you get the maximum supplies and send it all (conveniently) to your doorstep with your breast pump.
Q: Woah…that’s a lot of stuff. There must be something that isn’t covered, right?
You’re right, there are a few things that TRICARE doesn’t cover…
- Breast pump batteries, battery-powered adapters, and battery packs
- Regular “baby bottles” (Bottles not specific to pump operation), including associated nipples, caps, and lids
- Travel bags and other similar carrying accessories
- Breast pump cleaning supplies
- Baby weight scales
- Garments and other products that allow hands-free pump operation
- Ice packs, labels, labeling lids, and other similar products
- Nursing bras (bummer) bra pads, breast shells, and other similar products
- Over-the-counter creams, ointments, and other products that relieve breastfeeding related symptoms or conditions of the breasts or nipples
Q: What if I need it right away?
A: The Breastfeeding Shop offers same day shipping for urgent situations, which means you can — more than likely — have it by tomorrow.
Q: What if my breast pump breaks?
A: You may still be covered and able to get a new pump under certain conditions. You can contact your regional TRICARE contractor for help.
Q: How do you choose the pump that’s right?
A: Here’s the deal. There are a lot of companies that distribute breast pumps to military spouses, but they usually push one or two pumps that are best for them. Not necessarily the best pump for mom.
The Breastfeeding Shop carries a huge collection of pump manufacturers (Medela, Spectra, Ardo, Ameda, etc.,) They walk you through it step-by-step to get the exact pump that is right for you.
Q: Where do I get my free breast pump?
A: For anyone looking to get a breast pump through TRICARE, The Breastfeeding Shop is really the gold standard. As an Authorized TRICARE Provider, they are used to working specifically with military spouses and TRICARE.
All you need to do is submit your prescription here. If you don’t have one, they’ll call for you. After choosing your pump, they take care of all the paperwork with TRICARE, and it will arrive at your doorstep in a few days.
No receipts or reimbursements to worry about. And you don’t even have to leave the house!
A huge thank you to The Breastfeeding Shop for sponsoring this conversation.
Want more on military life?
- To The Military Spouse Who Is Tired
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- 47 Things No One Tells You About Being a Military Wife
- The One Phrase That Will Reconnect Your Military Marriage