Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Newborn Dad To-Do List

As a mama-to-be, my to-do list is constantly circling in my brain: pack hospital bag, wash baby clothes, organize nursery, buy diaper creme, give the dog plenty of attention, do we have enough diapers?, order waterproof mattress protector, and the list goes on. Between being uncomfortable, hormonal, and anxious, I think it's fair to say we have enough on our plate in those final weeks of pregnancy. Surely there are some things I can the HUSBAND!!!

I'm fortunate to have a wonderful hubs who is always happy to help. If I give him a list, he's on it. Without a list, well, he just doesn't sometimes know where to start. We're working on that mind-reading thing, but we aren't there yet.

Here's my list of Daddy Duties for things Dad can take on in those first days after the babe arrives. Do you have anything to add to the list?

While in the hospital:
  1. Family announcement. This is a right of passage for all new dads, right? The obligatory email with a few photos, birth stats, and "mom & baby are doing great" line. You guys may want to discuss who this email goes to in advance, and even start a draft. Chances are, he may not have your Aunt Suzy in his contacts, and we don't want to leave Aunt Suzy out!  If the notification list is overwhelming, you can always designate someone on both sides of the family to initiate a "baby's here" chain to pass along the good news once Dad sends it to them.
  2. Add babe to health insurance. This may be a simple call, a form, or (as insurance is known to be) a ridiculously unnecessary complicated process. Either way, Dad should be able to make the call, fill out the form, or figure out what needs to be done. Even if Mom is the primary person on the account, he should be able to make some headway. He should be able to get the info from the back of the insurance card (which you'll obviously have with you at the hospital).
  3. Order the breast pump. (see here for insurance coverage for breast pumps & why you have to wait until the babe arrives) Make sure he has the contact info on-hand.
  4. Notify Mom's work. You need to get the maternity leave started, so whether that's through the office or a third party (or both), be sure to have the contact info ready for your husband so he can notify the right folks and "turn on" the benefits. If Dad gets paternity leave, start that ball rolling, too.
  5. Notify pediatrician & schedule initial check-up. If the hospital doesn't do this for you, you'll need to call your pediatrician and let them know your baby has arrived. Some will visit in the hospital, others will not. Either way, you need to let the hospital know who your pediatrician will be prior to discharge. And, you'll need to set up an appointment within a few days of birth.  If you haven't already met with your pediatrician (we haven't), it's still a good idea to call them before the delivery date to make sure they are accepting new patients & your insurance. If, after the first appointment you don't love them, you can find someone else for the future appointments. If Dad has made that initial call, it's easy for him to follow up once baby is born.
  6. Take photos, duh! Be sure someone else gets photos of the whole family, too. If there are any shots you really want, make sure he knows in advance. Or, if you really want to be blurred in the background during those first few shots, make sure he knows that too (and reads up on how to focus accordingly).
  7. Of course, whatever Mom asks for during labor & recovery is a given - food, massage, the remote control, etc.
Once home from the hospital:
  1. Stock the breastfeeding station. Make sure Mom has huge glass of water,  a snack, the Boppy, and anything else that will make her comfy...including the remote control or headphones. Dad, you can bond with the babe during this time, too. Tickling the feet to keep him awake & actively feeding, or singing songs during the nighttime feed.
  2. Manage visitors. Talk with Mom to see how she's handling the rotating door of friends & family and manage accordingly.
  3. Let mom nap/shower/etc. Bring out the baby sling and strap him to your chest for some quality father-son bonding time (skin-to-skin is best, even for dads). While you and babe are shirtlessly putting away dishes, vacuuming the rug, or preparing dinner, Mom can spend some time in the shower. (And hopefully she'll sneak a photo, because this is just too cute for words.)
  4. Bathe the baby. If Mom is exhausted, let bath time be part of your duties. Hop in the shower with him for some extra skin-to-skin bonding time. Once he's clean, hand him off to Mom who is eagerly awaiting with the adorable hooded towel. 
  5. Keep a list of needed grocery items. If a visitor calls and offers to pick up anything you need, it's a handy go-to for the staples you may run out of quickly!
  6. Walk Fido. In those first few days, the dog may need some extra attention --give it to her. In the following days, maybe Mom wants to walk Fido while you and Baby have some alone time.
What other ways has your partner helped in those first few days of bringing home baby? Add your ideas in the comments below!

Best Price on Medela Freestyle pump

After playing ping-pong with the insurance company, my benefits coordinator, and the medical equipment provider, turns out, my healthcare insurance doesn't fall under the new Affordable Healthcare Act. Meaning, my breast pump has to come out of pocket. (Unless deemed medically necessary following the birth, which would then require a prescription to be covered at 80%.)

Since I know adding another insurance claim to the to-do list once Baby arrives ain't gonna happen, I sought out the best deal I could find on my pump of choice, the Medela Freestyle.
product image
Today, Walgreens has the pump on sale for $319 (including free shipping), which I thought was the best price I've ever seen of the usual $399+ retail price. Then, I clicked on one of those silly sidebar ads and was reminded of an email a friend sent me when she bought her pump. Lactation Care offers the Medela Freestyle for $295 (including free 3-5 day UPS shipping, no tax outside Massachusetts). They can't advertise their price online for some reason, so's my secret to you. Call 'em up! It was nice to actually use the phone to purchase something for once.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nursery Progress 2: the chair

Well, the clock is ticking and we're making some progress in the babe's room.

This chair was a Craigslist score for $35. Loved the lines and scale of the swivel rocker, but the worn gold velvet? Not so much.

A few yards of white cotton duck and a skilled upholsterer...


Good times ahead...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Aetna Breast Pump coverage under Affordable Healthcare Act

As my sister likes to say, "thanks to Obamacare, being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition." Regardless of your political stance, it's nice that things like contraception and breast pumps are now mandatory to be covered under insurance policies without any copay (apparently some are grandfathered in/out, so check your policy).

There isn't a lot of info out there, so I thought I'd share what I've learned from talking to the insurance company - I have Aetna - and the medical equipment provider.

I spoke with Aetna this week. I am due 2/9/13, and pumps are covered as long as they are purchased via a durable medical equipment provider within 60 days following the baby's birth. You can find the suppliers via their DocFind website. Many of the providers I found do not carry the same brands we're familiar with commercially at Target, BRU, etc, -- only the hospital grade brands. However, Sunmed Medical carries Medela.

After talking to Sunmed (they are very helpful at navigating the process thus far!), here's what I learned:
  • Can't order the pump until the baby is born, but they can provide you with paperwork that can be done ahead of time. Then, when you go into labor, give them a call and they'll get the order processed ASAP so that you have it within a few days of coming home.
  • They don't currently have an arrangement to cover additional supplies (bottles, shields, nipples, etc), but that could change as they continue negotiations with the insurance providers.
  • There are two pump options (see below).

Breast pumps are covered under the new Affordability Health Care Act.  Two items must have occurred to qualify under this new provision:
1.  Renewal date of qualifying* plans must have occurred AFTER 8/1/12 and prior to the birth of the baby.  Most plans renew January 1.  Please check with your employer to be sure.  Not sure? If you submit your information to us, we will check this as well.
2.  Birth of baby must have occurred within 60 days of the receipt of the pump.
For example, if your plan renews 1/1/13 and the due date is 5/15/13, you would qualify, and we would just get the verification in place now.  Once you deliver, just let us know the baby has delivered, and we will ship you the pump.  If your baby is due 5/15/13, and your plan doesn't renew until 7/20/13, you would NOT qualify, since your 60 day window would have passed from the time of delivery to the time the plan becomes eligible under the affordable health care act.
If you meet the qualifications above, the pump will be covered at 100% with no deductible or co-pay involved.  If you do not meet the qualifications above, the pump may be covered under your medical policy, with all of the coverage criteria, deductibles and co-pays of your health plan.  We can also help sort through those details as well.

There are two pumps that are eligible through this provider. With my personal insurance plan, I can pay $125 out of pocket to get the Medela Freestyle (vs the retail price of $350-$400!).

We carry only Medelea products, the most highly regarded breast pump technology in the world. They have developed the Medela Advanced Personal Double Pump (APDP), designed for the specific needs of the Affordability Health Care Act and Insurance recipients, which is substantially equivalent to the Medela Pump in Style, their retail product available at Target, Toys R Us, etc.  
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[Medela Advanced Personal Double Pump]

The APDP has the same motor as the Pump in Style, but comes with more accessories than the Pump In Style, including a manual pump for emergency situations.  The Sunmed version of the APDP also comes with a battery pack.  Just insert batteries in the event pumping needs to occur away from an electric outlet.
[Medela Freestyle]
The Medela Freestyle is available as an option, however, an additional cost would need to be paid by the recipient, and not the insurance company.  If this option is your choice, please contact us and we can provide you that exact additional cost.  Generally, it is about $150.00 additional, depending on your Insurance carrier.

So, now what? Basically, you complete a form so they can begin the fulfillment process. If you can get your physician to write you a prescription for the pump, it may make the process move more quickly, but it isn't required. The form is pretty simple info - contact info, insurance provider info, and doctor's contact info.

To get started, you would provide us your demographics and physician information and we can start the process.  If you already have a signed prescription, please fax it to us, along with providing us the demographic information below.
If you prefer, you can call us at 800-714-7434 M-F between 9 am and 5pm EST, and we can answer any additional questions you may have, and we can take your information over the phone.  Or, provide us your contact information and we can call you. 

1.    Complete the form and email or fax it back to us at 800-715-5422, or call us with this same information

2.    We will verify your benefits and eligibility

3.    We will notify you of the information and coverage

4.    We will hold this information ready to go for shipment of your breast pump

5.    Upon delivery, notify us of the delivery date, and we will ship the pump to you.(Insurance company requires birth of child to occur prior to shipment of the pump)
            6.    Delivery is ground via UPS from Chicago, and should arrive within 7 days.

This is what I've learned thus far, so hopefully it'll help some of you mamas out there, too. I'm planning to get my paperwork submitted this week, and (crossing my fingers) it should be as easy as a phone call when I go into labor for the pump to magically arrive on the doorstep.

Of course, coverage & options may vary with each insurer and their approved medical suppliers. It's not too much hassle to save several hundred dollars, so that's a relief! You just never know with insurance sometimes!

**update 1/24/13: as luck would have it, my plan is actually "grandfathered OUT" of the Affordable Healthcare Act policies, so this process doesn't actually apply. Unfortunately, I won't be able to let you know how quickly the pump ships, works, etc. Instead, I just get to pay higher healthcare premiums without the benefit everyone else in the country receives. BUT...hopefully this info will come in handy for some of you. If not, check out the best price I found on a Medela Freestyle breast pump here.**