Breast pumps plentiful in stores, yet hard to get for expectant moms
Posted January 17, 2013
Katie Moore and her husband are expecting their first child – a boy - in May.
She plans to nurse and was excited to learn that new heath care laws require insurance companies to pay 100 percent of the cost of a breast pump.
“They're expensive,” Moore said. It costs $200 to $300 “for a good one."
Moore’s health insurance provider is Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Like most insurance companies, BCBSNC requires subscribers to get the pump through specific vendors.
Moore says as soon as she started making calls, the runaround began. The two local vendors listed on the insurer’s website aren't taking orders.
Edgepark Medical Supplies has this recording: “Due to a nationwide shortage of breast pumps, we are unable to take any further breast pump orders at this time."
Moore has since spent hours online and on the phone.
"I'm just having to call Blue Cross and the other people back and forth and back and forth," she said.
Recent online posts show plenty of other expectant moms share Moore's frustrations.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina spokesman Lew Borman looked into the issue after we called and told 5 On Your Side that "orders jumped ten-fold since January 1.” That’s when many health plans rolled over.
The rush of orders is an "unanticipated consequence of a new benefit," he said. The company then added an alert to its website, saying they are working with manufacturers to fill orders and will keep customers advised.
Breast pump manufacturers said they were caught off guard. Stores are stocked with breast pumps, but insurers require new moms to go through their contracted medical suppliers.
"I've been given no date as to when they may come available,” Moore said. "And that was my main concern, because I do have a due date pending."
With her son due in May, Moore has some time. But she and other expectant moms are frustrated by the lack of information.
"I'm not mad,” she said. “I just would like answers."