You may be planning on nursing your baby but do you also know how to gain breastfeeding support and supplies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? A recent survey showed that most moms (82%) don’t understand the breastfeeding-related benefits available under the ACA. Unfortunately, this survey shows we’re missing the mark when it comes to making sure moms are set up for support and success in nursing their babies.
Signed in 2010, the law requires insurance companies to provide access to a no-cost breast pump as well as lactation consulting sessions. The ACA also requires many employers to provide a clean, private space to pump that is not a bathroom – plus breaks for mom to express her milk.
Conducted by Wakefield Research for Byram Healthcare, the survey asked 1,000 expectant mothers about their knowledge regarding specific benefits—and the findings reflect what I often see in my own practice as a lactation consultant and educator:
- 42% of moms don’t know breast pumps are covered at no cost
- 64% of moms don’t know consultations with a lactation consultant are covered at no cost
- 61% of moms don’t know employers must provide breaks for mothers to pump milk
Gain Breastfeeding Supplies
As a lactation consultant and educator, I see these breastfeeding benefits as the best-kept secret of the ACA. The low awareness could be related to general confusion about the law. Many mothers falsely believe they can’t obtain the pump they want through their insurance.
So what steps should an expecting or new mom take to access her benefits?
- Contact your insurance company to order a breast pump through them
- You can order a breast pump as soon as your healthcare provider has given you a due date even if your insurance company won’t provide the pump until closer to baby’s birth
- Most health plans provide coverage for the majority of top-quality, brand name pumps
Don’t hesitate to call your health insurance provider and discuss your benefits related to breastfeeding, asking about pumps and other nursing supplies. Take a breastfeeding course, visit a lactation support group, talk with other moms; making you and your baby your priority now will set you up for future breastfeeding success.