The Supreme Court ruling this week on the Affordable Health Care Act is monumental for breastfeeding mothers.Not only does “Obamacare” amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and require that employers provide reasonable breaks and private space for mothers to pump, but as of August 1, 2012, health plans must begin phasing in 100% coverage of certain proven preventive health services, including breast pumps and lactation support.
Our family received a letter this week from our insurance provider announcing this coverage. While it’s about seventeen years too late for me (my youngest will graduate from high school next year), I am pleased to realize insurance coverage of breastfeeding support. Since MilkWorks opened eleven years ago, we have struggled with how to charge for breastfeeding help when moms must pay for services out of pocket. Many mothers do not have confidence that breastfeeding will work for them. After all, “it didn’t work for my sister or my best friend.” Parents face many extra costs with a new baby, especially if mom is on maternity leave with no income. We also learned that some babies need just a little bit of help to breastfeed effectively, while others need a lot more.
Expanded insurance coverage should mean that more moms can access breastfeeding help. Everyone wins when we create a more supportive environment that ends up reducing health care costs. Focusing on prevention and keeping babies healthy is exactly what health care reform is all about.