Big Winner in Obamacare…Breast Pump Industry

Monday, January 07, 2013

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.

-Matt Bewig


ToLearn More:

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)


Dj 9 years ago
I would hope the feeling I get from the title and first 3 paragraphs isn't the ignorant, sarcastic bs I think it is. First off if there weren't some conservatives on board with ACA it wouldn't have passed, period. Secondly the original idea for it started in a republican caucus (just the messenger go ask the Colbert guest that night for confirmation), the final product is majorly tweaked obviously, but still stop acting like it was all Obama's idea alone or democrats in general it's getting tiring. Lastly this isn't some evil outcome good quality pumps, even hand ones, are expensive and normally not considered by lower income women. When these moms have to return to work less than a month after birth because they can't afford to sit at home very long the baby & the taxpayer suffer. Baby winds up on formula.. more expensive in the long run v.s providing mom a quality pump (ever rang out a parent having to purchase Similac, I almost thought my register was broken the first time) & is more prone to illness meaning more doctors/ hospital runs, meaning more claims to welfare. Some republicans are citing studies that claim breastfed children are mentally better adjusted & show less behavior problems so they can't possibly be 100% against this provision, it's right along their claim in belief of families first! U.S based pump makers are making money keeping dollars on our shores so I don't see any losers here. American moms should be encouraged more to breastfeed even if needing a pump in order to return to work, not criticized for needing a little help with such an expensive item.
Natalie 9 years ago
Each state determines what their Medicaid plan will pay for. Federal funded plans are not mandated to follow the ACA. Tricare does not pay for breast pumps and either does Medicare. Self funded groups are also exempt from following ACA as well as grandfathered plans. There are a lot of loopholes.
Anne McCauley 11 years ago
I was just informed that the City of New York was exempt from covering breast pumps under the Obamacare could this be? I thought it was a federal mandate under the portion of this plan for women's health. Can someone confirm this or is this another way that the inusurers try to discourage participants from submitting claims.

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