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Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Obamacare a Big Help for Breast-feeding Moms

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“Now I’m telling everybody I know, ‘Call your insurance, this is amazing,’ ” she said.

The Affordable Care Act provision supporting breast-feeding went into effect for new health-insurance plans a year ago, but many plans didn’t incorporate the benefit until January 2013, when they were renewed.

One hurdle to more widespread use of the provision is the vague language used to describe it, leaving insurance companies to come up with their own interpretations of what it means.

Many plans require women to purchase their supplies from an approved medical-device provider, while other others will allow a mom to get reimbursed for a purchase made anywhere. Some will pay only for a handheld, nonelectric device, while others cover more premium pumps. The rule is even more unclear on the lactation-support provision, with no definition of who is qualified to assist a woman trying to breast-feed.

When Courson initially found breast-feeding difficult, she again turned to her insurance provider.

“I had so many questions and concerns. I wanted to see a lactation consultant so I called insurance just to see.”

Courson learned that she had coverage for counseling, and found a provider who would visit her home. Now more than a month after delivering Nicholas, breast-feeding is going well.

“Knowing this kind of care is available and covered ... that is huge,” she said.

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan health policy research and communications organization not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

Tue, Aug 27 2013

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