How Military Moms Get Free Breast Pumps

Having a baby is a joyous moment, but paying for the costs associated with raising a child can add up quickly. This fact means many moms can’t spend all of the traditional breastfeeding months at home. While it is well known that breastfeeding is a healthy choice, those who can’t afford to stay home or buy a breast pump may feel stuck using formula. However, it is possible to get a free breast pump as part of your Tricare benefits.

To help you navigate the process for acquiring your free breast pump, here is an overview of the steps you need to take.

Get a Prescription
Tricare supports breastfeeding supplies for new mothers including those who have given birth as well as those who have recently adopted an appropriately aged child. This allows more mothers to provide a child with the health benefits associated with breastfeeding, even if they have not given birth themselves.

It is important to note that Tricare requires that all new moms who intend to breastfeed to get a prescription if they want a free breast pump. This can be acquired from any Tricare-authorized physical, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or nurse midwife. The prescription states the kind of breast pump you need based on three main categories: hospital-grade, manual, and standard electric.

It’s not a difficult process and there are free specialized services that can assist you with the whole process.

Find a Provider
Once you have a prescription, you can choose a local Tricare-authorized provider for your breast pump and associated supplies. If you are authorized a standard electric or manual breast pump, you can often go to a traditional civilian retail store or pharmacy to get an appropriate pump.

In cases where the store or pharmacy can work directly with Tricare, you may be able to pick up your pump without making any payments. Instead, the retailer works directly with Tricare for reimbursement, and you don’t have to do anything additional.

Other facilities will require you initially pay for the breast pump and then request a reimbursement from Tricare. In these situations, you will need to provide a copy of your prescription along with an itemized receipt for the pump and accessories with your claim. Once received, Tricare will return the funds to you, allowing you to keep the breast pump for free.

Coverage Limits
Tricare provides breast pumps and supplies to all qualified mothers based on the following standards. First, a mother can be authorized a new manual or electric breast pump after every birth event. Hospital-grade breast pumps are only approved on an as-needed basis. However, once a hospital-grade breast pump is no longer needed, you may be able to secure an electric or manual breast pump for the rest of the time. Before you can switch to another breast pump type, you will need to get a new prescription reflecting the change.

Standard breast pump supplies are covered for up to 36 months after a birth event. This includes power adapters, locking rings, tubing, tubing adapters, bottles, bottle caps, shields, and storage bags. However, items such as batteries, travel bags, cleaning supplies, and other items are not covered.

If you need more information about your Tricare coverage and available options, speak with your insurer or physician directly. They will be able to provide additional information to help you use your benefits effectively.

In addition to getting free breast pumps, military families with young kids can also get access to free school supplies.