Breastfeeding Support and Your Insurance

With the Affordable Care Act in place, breastfeeding support is now easier to come by for most insured Americans.  The healthcare initiative that went into effect in 2012 aims to offer better access to preventative care.  Breastfeeding certainly falls within this category because of the incredible benefits it offers both baby and mother.

Breastfeeding Support and Your InsuranceAlthough every insurance company differs, most plans now offer breastfeeding support in several key areas that increase a mother’s success along her breastfeeding journey.  First, most plans offer lactation support and counseling, which may happen during the prenatal period or postpartum.  While the notion of lactation support may be different from plan-to-plan, many insurance companies will help in the form of a breastfeeding class, breastfeeding books, online resources for breastfeeding, individual sessions with lactation consultants and other ways of counseling.

Many insurance companies take support a step beyond only breastfeeding and offer OBGYN nurse consultations via the phone.  This program is designed to supplement regular obstetric care at the mother’s primary practice, knowing that sometimes prenatal visits are rushed and not all areas of prenatal health are covered.  By enrolling in the program, mothers speak to professional OBGYN nurses throughout the course of their pregnancy to get pertinent information and reminders about their own health and that of the baby, discuss plans for the baby’s care including breastfeeding, and ask any questions that may not have been covered by the mother’s primary physician or nurse.  Often insurance companies also offer incentives such as books and baby items to help the mother along the way.  The goal of the program is to ensure excellent prenatal health for mothers and babies to start them on a good path after the baby is born, which can ultimately save families and insurance companies money in the long run.

Additionally, due to the Affordable Care Act many insurance companies also help pay for breastfeeding equipment, mainly in the form of a breast pump.  For many new moms, breastfeeding success is dependent on a breast pump because they have to return to work relatively soon after giving birth.  A breast pump allows mothers the ability to maintain their milk supply while away from their babies and also have pumped milk to provide while they are at work.  Not every plan is required to provide a breast pump but many insurance companies do offer a standard electric pump to their members.  They may have restrictions on which pumps are part of the plan and may require a co-pay as well.

Lactation support and potentially a free breast pump is worth a call to your insurance company. Ask what type of support and programs are offered during pregnancy and postpartum so you can take full advantage of what your plan has to offer.  Some insurance companies may ask you to pay for services and supplies out of pocket and you are reimbursed later.  Others may work directly with in-network providers so you get support without coming out of pocket and the hassle of filing paperwork.