Monday, February 6, 2012

Updated Affordable Care Act lets insured mothers get free access to breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling

I've been keeping eyes on President Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act since it was passed in March 2010. To recap, the bill contains a provision ensuring breastfeeding moms have the time and a private place, other than a bathroom (yuck!), to pump or breastfeed at work.

But now there's more good news for breastfeeding moms! The Affordable Care Act was updated August 2011 and now requires health plans to cover breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling. Moms are now entitled to breastfeeding support by a trained professional, like an IBCLC, during pregnancy and after each baby is born. This also includes costs for renting breastfeeding equipment, like hospital-grade breast pumps.

What's more, health plans can't charge women a copay, coinsurance, or deductible for these services if delivered by a network provider. There are other new services covered, like well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing. These new additions go into effect on Aug. 1, 2012.

This is great news for women who might not have considered breastfeeding! It kicks the door open for untold women to embrace breastfeeding, because it removes barriers like access to these services and funding. These might have posed a problem for some moms, especially in our current economic climate, but now they'll have access. I'm hoping moms will take advantage of these services and meet with lactation consultants, especially in the first few days postpartum, when so many moms need guidance to start breastfeeding on the right foot.

Are you as excited as I am by this development? What will you do to spread the word about these new included services for breastfeeding moms?

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