Insurance lightening financial load for new mothers

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The benefits of breastfeeding have been well documented for years and now, thanks to a provision in the Affordable Health Care Act, more moms may be able to continue the practice for longer.

Ingrid Dixon, a licensed lactation consultant at OU Medical Center in Edmond, said, "Breastfeeding is what's humanly natural; that's what the babies body expects."

Although with a large number of today's new moms working, continuing to breastfeed becomes challenging.

Dixon said for many moms it's not that they don't want to nurse their babies but the cost of a pump is just out of reach.

Dixon said, "A good pump, you're looking at a minimum $200."

But it's now getting easier for those who wish to continue breastfeeding.

Under the Affordable Health Care Act, insurance companies are now required to cover the cost of renting breast pumps; however, many consumers are finding their insurance companies are buying the pumps because it's cheaper than renting.

"A good quality pump will help you get more milk out of your breast," Dixon said. "You could buy a cheaper pump and your supply will go down because you're not getting it all out. That can be discouraging."

Not only is the pump covered by insurance but with the Affordable Healthcare Act now insurance companies have to also cover visits, if necessary, to a lactation consultant for the first few weeks of the babies life.

Dixon said, "If they need the care, it's covered with just a co-payment."

It's a benefit to moms who wish to breastfeed now and a benefit to their babies in the future.

"Babies that are breastfed are not as likely to develop allergies, asthma," she said. "They're less likely to have childhood and adult cancers. They're less likely to be obese."

Most insurance companies require that you purchase the pumps through certain companies.

Contact your insurance company to know exactly how the benefits work.

Each company is different in the rules they have developed.

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