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For some new moms, insurance covers cost of breast pumps

Posted on Aug. 6, 2015 ( comments)

Pregnant women and new mothers may qualify for a Medela Breast Pump with no out-of-pocket costs, thanks to a change in insurance coverage requirements as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Unlike retail stores that sell the breast pumps for up to $400, the Mom & Baby Boutique at MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital can bill the pumps directly to insurance, without any out-of-pocket costs for the mother.

“Studies have shown breast-fed babies are healthier and have fewer visits to the doctor,” said Sabrina Nordin, who helps women at the Mom & Baby Boutique at Tacoma General. “Healthier babies, healthier children. Finally, they’re supporting that.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, the pumps fall under preventive care, instead of durable goods, so they’re not subject to co-pays or deductibles, Nordin said. Many insurance plans, such as First Choice Health for MultiCare employees, cover 100 percent of the allowable costs.

Since coverage varies by plan, find out if you qualify. Call Sabrina or Samantha at 253-403-3020.

This July alone, 35 women have picked up new pumps at the Mom & Baby Boutique. That compares to fewer than 10 pumps per month before the insurance changes.

“It’s great that insurance is starting to see the importance of breastfeeding,” said Julieanna Housden, an RN who works in the Operating Room at MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital. “It’ll be more affordable for someone who wants to return to work. Now, especially at MultiCare, they’re making it easier.”

Both babies and mothers gain many benefits from breastfeeding, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC says:

  • Breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections
  • Women who breastfeed may also have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers
  • A baby’s risk of becoming an overweight child goes down with each month of breastfeeding

Breast pumps are available and billable to insurance at the following locations:

“The pumps have been flying out of here,” Nordin said. “It behooves a person to get them through us.”

This story was originally published in March 2013 and updated in August 2015.

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