Breast pumps now covered under the Affordable Care Act
Transforming Health | 01.31.13
The Affordable Care Act, the health insurance reform legislation passed into law by President Obama in 2010, helps make prevention affordable and accessible for all Americans.
The law also requires insurance companies to cover additional preventive health benefits for women.
There are eight new additional women’s preventive services that will be covered without cost-sharing requirements.
One of these new requirements under the new law is that health insurers pay the full cost of breast pumps for nursing mothers. For many insurance plans, this new rule went into effect at the beginning of this year.
Under the ACA, health insurers must now cover the full cost of breast pumps for nursing mothers.
Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling: Pregnant and postpartum women will have access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling from trained providers, as well as breastfeeding equipment. Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive measures mothers can take to protect their health and that of their children. One of the barriers for breastfeeding is the cost of purchasing or renting breast pumps and nursing related supplies. (Healthcare.gov)
This new ACA rule has created a boom in the sale of the breast pumps, which can cost hundreds of dollars.
NPR’s Zoe Chace visited a breast pump boutique on New York's Upper East Side called Yummy Mummy that has suddenly become a medical supply superstore/health care provider.
Chace looks at what happens when a device goes from being something people have to pay for out of pocket to being free for anyone who has health insurance.
Harvard health economist Katherine Baicker says, "Health insurance premiums are driven by how much we spend on health care. The more things that are covered by health insurance policies, the more premiums have to rise to cover that spending."
Babies that are breast fed tend to have fewer health problems.
But, many advocates of requiring insurance companies to cover breast pumps say that the measure will pay for itself in the long run. Paying for breast pumps should mean more babies are breast fed. And, babies that are breast fed tend to have fewer health problems. Learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding here.
Insurers are still trying to figure out the details and exactly what models of the pumps will be covered.
Tell us: What do you think of the new preventive services under the ACA? Please leave a comment below.
For more information on women's preventive services, use the resources below:
- Guidelines for Women’s Preventive Services
- Read a fact sheet on Women's Preventive Services and Religious Institutions.
- Get the full list of 22 covered preventive services for women.