When the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) was passed back in 2010, it did something pretty incredible for new and expectant mothers. The bill required most health insurance providers to cover the cost of a breast pump as part of women's preventative health services. This was definitely a huge win for women's reproductive health, but it can still be overwhelming trying to figure out what breast pumps are actually covered under Obamacare, especially now that it might be repealed. The options differ depending on your insurance plan, of course, but your plan should cover the cost of renting or purchasing a breast pump under Obamacare (but hurry and find out now... just in case).
Obamacare does require that insurance plans must provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding, however, each insurance plan is a little bit different. While these rules apply to Marketplace plans and all other private health insurance plans, there are some grandfathered plans that are an exception. To find out if your plan is governed by the Affordable Care Act and will cover the cost of your breast pump, try calling your insurance provider to get more information about your specific plan. Even if you are covered by a grandfathered plan, some are still choosing to cover the costs of breast pumps.
Many insurance plans may require their customers to get their breast pumps from a medical supply company called Durable Medical Equipment (DME). According to DME supplier Zynitech Medical, health plans governed by the Affordable Care Act "do not dictate which brand or which type of breast pump patients can have," however, the health plans may only cover the cost of a pump to a certain extent. If you have your eye on a more expensive pump (like that fancy new smart breast pump) that might not be fully covered by your plan, some patients choose to pay an upgrade fee or cover the remaining costs themselves.
The best way to know which breast pumps are available to you is to ask questions. Call your provider ASAP and ask why type of pump you can get. Do you have options between double or single electric personal-use pumps and manual pumps? It's always good to be up to date on what's happening with health insurance, especially now that the Affordable Care Act is jeopardy of being repealed.
Hopefully breast pumps will continue to be covered by health insurance under the Affordable Care Act long after Obama's presidency. Breast pumps are critical to women and working mothers, and continuing access to and financial assistance for them, going forward into Trump's presidency, is imperative.