If you did, then it’s no surprise that with the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), breastfeeding is a now a preventative service that is covered by health plans at no cost. But what does that mean exactly? Insurance companies like United Healthcare, Aetna, and Independence Blue Cross collaborate with breast pump suppliers to meet the needs of their members, according to a spokesperson from Aetna.
The breast pump manufacturers that are chosen by the insurance companies are selected based on their ability to supply a variety of quality pumps at a national level at an affordable price point. Before the ACA, Aetna did have several programs that were covered for mothers but breast pumps are a new coverage option.
Outside the U.S, some countries work in similar ways.
Katarzyna Konczak, a breastfeeding mom from South Africa, was able to easily get a pump through her “medical aid”, similar to health insurance here in the U.S.
“If you don’t have medical aid, you have to go through public hospitals here,” Konczak said. “I had a premature baby so I could claim the breast pump through my insurance.”
In the U.S., multiple barriers exist to the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding, including education, social and logistical support, the latter especially challenging for women returning to the workforce. The ACA attempts to lessen those challenges with a range of mandates, including coverage without cost sharing of comprehensive lactation support and counseling by a trained provider during pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period. Coverage of the costs for renting breastfeeding equipment is also mandated. Because the rental cost of hospital grade breast pumps is similar to the purchase cost of a personal breast pump, many health plans allow for the purchase of a personal breast pump and place limits on the frequency of purchases.
But where should a new breast feeding mom to start?
Aetna Spokesperson says, “Checking with their health plan is the first step. A list of approved suppliers should be available where members can receive a breast pump and supplies at no charge or for a discounted rate, depending on coverage. “
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