Good news pumping mamas! As of January 1, 2013, your insurance company will now have to pay for your new breast pump! According to the Washington Post:
“Tucked within the Affordable Care Act is a provision requiring insurance companies to cover breast pumps and visits to lactation consultants at no cost to the patient.
Other mandated benefits, including the requirement to pay for contraceptives, drew far more attention and controversy. But when health insurance plans began resetting Jan. 1 under the new terms, it was the breast- pump clause that took off with consumers.”
That’s right! If you’re getting ready to rest or purchase a new breast pump, your insurance plan now has to cover the cost. How awesome is that?That could save pumping moms hundreds of dollars! And its causing a boom in the breast pump selling business, which is awesome, especially for small dealers who will see a nice bump in business. Breastfeeding as economic stimulus: who woulda thunk it?
Now, it’s not actually as simple as it sounds and you’ll need to check with your insurance company to find out if they cover rentals or just rentals and purchases (only rental coverage is actually mandated) and you’ll need to find out if they have a list of authorized dealers so you can be sure to get your pump from a covered provider.
The other things that will now be covered by insurance will be visits to lactation consultants. Again, you’ll need to check with your insurance company to find out which lactation consultants in your area are in-network or how to get reimbursed for seeing out-of-network LC’s. That might be complicated because some LCs are declining to join insurance networks due to low reimbursement rates:
“We as a company have decided not to sign up as a preferred provider,” said Diana West, of Mahala Mom, a lactation consulting company in Northwest New Jersey.
West’s consultations, which tend to run between 90 minutes and two hours, cost about $200 depending on the location. Insurance companies have made reimbursement offers that hover around $80, she said.
“This is a very big obstacle that my industry is really abuzz about,” she added.
Despite the hiccups that seem to be occurring as insurers set up the new benefits for consumers to take advantage of, these new provisions are really terrific. Coverage of breastpumps and visits with LC’s will make it much easier for moms to get breastfeeding support and for working moms to continue breastfeeding after they return to work. Since there are so many benefits to breastfeeding, for mom and baby, this is a great public health promotion and saving moms money is a big deal in this economy. This goes hand-in-hand with other Affordable Care Act provisions that give moms time and space to pump at work. The only downside I see is that there aren’t comparable initiatives to make formula more affordable. All kinds of infant feeding should be supported. But all in all, this is great news for moms and babies!
Photo credit: Medela
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