Big Winner in Obamacare…Breast Pump Industry
Conservative criticism that the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—aka Obamacare—is just a way for liberal Democrats to make Americans dependent on the teat of the state may be literally true, as the law is causing a sales boom for the breast pump industry. Along with controversial items like the mandate that insurers pay for contraceptive care, the ACA also includes a provision requiring insurance companies to cover breast pumps and visits to lactation consultants at no cost to the patient.
Women use breast pumps to store milk for later feeding to babies, to stimulate lactation for mothers with low milk supply and to relieve engorgement when their breasts are overfull.
Previously, 31 states required Medicaid to cover breast pumps, and some private plans included coverage for a fee. Now, Obamacare requires insurers to cover “comprehensive lactation support and counseling…and costs for renting breastfeeding equipment” in conjunction with each birth.
Since insurers began offering the new requirement, it has taken off with consumers. “We’re getting a lot of calls from prospective mothers and new mothers,” Bruce Frishman, president of a medical equipment supplier in Washington, DC, told The Washington Post. “We’ve started stocking a lot more pumps that would be purchased through insurance.”
Under Obamacare, the government will not pay for breast pumps, which insurers will cover with a small increase in premiums. Although the provision mandates only pump rental, some insurers are offering to cover purchases of consumer models, which are lighter and less expensive than the heavy, durable types usually offered for rent. Insurers are also recruiting certified lactation consultants to join their care networks, but low reimbursement rates are proving to be an obstacle, with insurers offering less than half of what the consultants customarily charge.
Explaining the reason behind the rule, Judy Waxman, vice president for health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center, said “this was a medical service that is advantageous for both women and babies, so we thought it should be seriously considered.” The health benefits of breastfeeding—for both mother and child—are widely acknowledged.
The Breast Pump Industry is Booming, Thanks to Obamacare (by Sarah Kliff, Washington Post)
Nursing Moms Rejoice! as of January 1st, That Expensive Breast Pump is Free! (by Lindsay Cross, Mommyish)
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