We-Have-To-Pass-It-To-Find-Out-What’s-In-It Fact of the Day

Tucked within the Affordable Care Act is a provision requiring insurance companies to cover breast pumps and visits to lactation consultants at no cost to the patient.

Yummy Mummy, a New York boutique that specializes in breast pumps and accessories, is in the process of acquiring a warehouse and call center to accommodate the increased demand.

“I have three employees taking calls right now,” owner Amanda Cole said. “We’re still in the stage where we’re figuring out how to add fax machines and phone lines. It’s all very new to us.”

Specialty suppliers like Yummy Mummy stand to benefit from the change if they manage to get on insurers’ lists of approved distributors. Women who might have bought a breast pump at a local retailer are now likely to turn to their insurance plan.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Sarah Kliff at the Ezra Klein blog.

Comments (8)

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  1. OJ says:

    Insurance companies providing coverage for breast pumps and visits to lactation consultants is not a joking matter. Some women need help with lactation, either physically or mentally ill minded.

  2. bart says:

    I wonder if this means breast pumps will be subject to the tax on medical devices.

  3. Neil Caffrey says:

    I wonder how many law-makers knew about this when they passed the healthcare law.

  4. Studebaker says:

    I’m going to monitor the breast pump industry over the next few years. Breast pumps are the only example I can think of that were entirely paid-for out-of-pocket prior to the ACA and will be a mandated benefits after the ACA. I expect the breast pumps to follow the example of renal dialysis. The private market for dialysis evaporated after End Stage Renal Disease became a federal (Medicare) entitlement. Now, the only way you can get dialysis is by at federally-funded dialysis centers, at which you’re forced to lounge for three or four hours each week while the dialysis machine runs. The higher quality option of having an in-home machine that works as you sleep — although possible — isn’t widely used because nobody is willing to pay the $25,000 cost. Dialysis technology is relatively simple; but the annual cost of dialysis is exorbitantly expensive now.

    Currently, most women who want a breast pump simply buy one. Or they can rent a hospital-quality model. The ACA required insurers to pay for renting hospital-quality models and reimburse the cost of a lactation consultant. Many of these consultants charge $200 for a consultation. When insurers only offered them $80 as reimbursement for an in-network consultation, many balked because they had hoped to earn much more. In the coming years I expect the over-the-counter products to leave the market in favor of electric pumps that insurers must rent. The cost will go from nominal amounts to a significant expense.

  5. Mulligan says:

    I dunno bart, shouldn’t much of that be covered under existing agricultural subsidies? It’s technically for human consumption..

    Alright that may have been in poor taste.


  6. Ashley says:

    I’d go as far as to say that this is innocuous compared to the provisions that lobbies manage to insert in nearly every bill.

  7. Thomas says:

    One thing I just can’t get through my head is the fact that so many things that are optional to women are being given to them for free when it’s not a matter of life and death. How is this okay? Why not make, perhaps, medications or medical procedures that some people need to survive free so they can all have access to it and leave these optional services out of the equation? All I’m saying is that there are some other services that people actually NEED to live and they are not receiving them for free, even though they can’t afford them. If these women don’t get these breast pumps they won’t die, so why spend so much health care dollars on this if it’s not a necessity?

  8. Henry GrosJean says:

    Mulligan – that was great! And, Thomas, it’s called votes!