David and his wife had a baby last year, and one item that their health insurance covers is an electric breast pump for putting away milk for later. Their mistake was not calling up Blue Cross/Blue Shield to find out whether this was a covered item with a prescription. Not that their customer service representatives are infallible, but it might have prevented what happened next. Instead, David called up the medical supply company, asked them whether it would be covered, and made the purchase. Months later, they received a bill in the month for the pump, and learned that the item wasn’t covered after all, and they were on the hook for $300. Oh.
My wife gave birth to our first born in November. Because we reached out of pocket max, I presumed that if a breast pump was covered under our insurance policy, it would be essentially free.
After getting a prescription from my wife’s doctor I called a medical supply company, [redacted] Medical Supply, to see if a they could sell us a Breast Pump, that would be covered under our insurance with a Rx. They looked it up on BCBS’s provider website, and confirmed that it would be covered.
Fast forward 3 months, we get a bill for a breast pump. After calling the medical supply company, they investigate, and confirm that a breast pump is not covered on our plan (contrary to what they told us before). The pump could not be returned because it was opened (although unused).
They advised I call BCBS and appeal. BCBS claim the error is on their end. So now I am stuck arguing between two companies with a $300 bill and an unused breast pump.
What’s a new dad to do?
First, this was probably just bad wording on David’s part, but remember that nothing is ever free, especially when an insurance company is paying for it. Even if it were covered, you the insured person would still be paying for that breast pump. Just not right now, and not directly.
Filing an appeal would be a good idea unless the no-pumps thing is clearly written on your insurance policy. If you’re truly stuck with the pump and have no plans to use it, find another new mother to sell it to. That won’t get the full value back, but it’s better than having a useless piece of equipment sitting in an open box.