Friday, October 11, 2013

The ACA and breast pumps

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has struck an interest for breastfeeding mothers. The ACA states comprehensive lactation support and counseling and breast pumps are covered by many private insurance providers for the breastfeeding mother.

This will hopefully help remove some of the barriers to breastfeeding that some women face. It’s a huge step in recognizing the importance of breastfeeding in the health care continuum for both mom and baby.

That said, working with the insurance providers can be a daunting task for new parents. As time has gone on improvements have been made and an understanding of the ACA is getting better.

The National Breastfeeding Center has ranked Anthem and Aetna the highest on their scorecard of providers supporting breastfeeding. Several insurance companies instruct members to call the number on the back of their provider cards to help them locate the appropriate location for purchasing their breast pump. Other insurance providers mail the pumps to the new parents. Some providers require members to purchase the breast pump from a durable medical equipment provider; this allows the mother to pick up the pump and the durable medical equipment provider to bill the insurance directly.

Not all hospitals or retail stores are durable medical equipment providers. It is extremely important to check with your insurance company before purchasing a breast pump to ensure proper reimbursement.

Hopefully over time the provision will help increase access to what is needed for women to breastfeed successfully.

Becky Law is manager of lactation services at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth.  

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