If you’re reading this, you probably have a baby with a very specialized diet, which they need in order to survive and be healthy. You probably also found out how much it costs.
While other “big box” brands of formula have some varieties that are pricey, they also offer coupons and savings clubs that offset the cost. Elecare does not.
Should I Switch?
There are alternate brands for babies who have a hard time digesting, such as Nutramigen and Neocate. While many of the larger suppliers like Gerber or Similac have started to offer gentle and natural formulas, I have yet to see a hospital use or recommend one of those formulas. It could just be because they aren’t well established yet. Talk to your pediatrician before you decide to switch if you are considering it. In my research, some people have claimed success in switching formulas, though the process is usually gradual over a few weeks. For me, it was not worth seeing my baby suffer while we tried switching to something that may not even work for us.
There is Help
There is no guarantee that you can get help paying for your Elecare, but there are a few ways that you can reduce your costs.
I’ll start with Amazon because it’s available to anyone, anywhere. If you need help right now, this is the fastest way to get it. I’ve recently been using Amazon Prime to cut my costs on a lot of things. You can get a free trial here
Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
With all the products I have bought for my baby lately, the fact that it seems they deliver almost immediately has won my heart. I have most of my products within a day or two and they even deliver on Sundays. Cost of Elecare at Walmart is $45, at CVS it is $55. At Amazon it is $31. Here is the link to the EleCare at Amazon.
In addition to the cheaper price, if you put it on your registry you can also earn points for free diapers of your choice through Amazon’s Diaper Rewards Program.
This was my best option while I explored other venues to try to get help. The trick to getting the best price at Amazon is choosing the right seller. The link I’ve provided is the best price I’ve found and it is directly through Amazon Prime.
Some people have purchased their Elecare from Ebay. If you have no other option, it’s something to consider. I’m very leery of random sellers so I don’t recommend it.
WIC stands for Women, Infants, and Children. The hospital may have already talked to you about WIC, but if they haven’t then it doesn’t hurt to at least apply. We were in the hospital for over 2 months before anyone talked to us about any kind of assistance. Most of the time you can apply online. WIC is handled through your individual state, so Google WIC in your state to get the link to apply. There are federal guidelines that you can view here but it seems like different states do different things. I spoke to a woman in Washington whose WIC only covers part of the formula costs and another in Ohio who said hers covered all of it.
WIC does work according to income. You must provide pay stubs and possibly other proof of income. If you are self employed, they will want last year’s taxes and they will measure your gross income. However, per the lady I spoke to at the WIC office, if you qualify for Medicaid, then you qualify for WIC automatically. Medicaid uses a different income scale than WIC does and currently uses a formula that adjusts for self employed people.
Don’t be afraid to ask for sample cans before you leave the hospital. They gave me one to go home with then had another 6 sent to my house to tide us over while we worked out how we are going to cover paying for it. If you are already home from the hospital, you can ask to speak to the nutritionist there to see if they can help.
Insurance plans are complicated things. Normally the hospital or your doctor can call to check on your plan to see if it will cover your formula. Many insurance companies do not cover food, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
If your insurance said no, don’t despair. Contact Pathway who will check further into your situation. In some circumstances, Pathway is able to talk to the right people to get your baby the specialized food he needs under your coverage plan by explaining your specific situation. The process can take a week or two, but the people at Pathway are very nice and wonderful about keeping you informed of the progress of the case and your next steps.
If approved, the insurance will work only through certain outlets to provide your Elecare. These are medical supply outlets that provide things like wheelchairs, lifts, and other equipment for specialized medical needs. Elecare is an unusual supplement in that many insurance agencies will cover it when presented with the correct information, but they will be picky as to how it is provided. You won’t be able to pick it up at the store.
If everyone else says no, Abbot may help. Click here to download their current form to see if they have a program that will help cover or offset your costs.