A recent NPR blog To Succeed at Breast-feeding, Most Moms Could Use Some Help details problems many new mothers have when initiating breast-feeding. But blog does not mention some exciting news—a new health care benefit that is already helping mothers start and continue breast-feeding. Breast-feeding is good for moms and good for babies, and new moms can get the help they need getting started, thanks to the health care law, also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

The law requires all “new” health plans to cover breast-feeding support and supplies without cost sharing, which means not paying for a co-payment, co-insurance, or deductible. (If you want to find out whether or not your plan is considered a “new” plan that is required to provide this coverage, see our helpful fact sheet.) The requirement includes breast-feeding equipment such as breast pumps and counseling, and these services must be covered “for the duration of breastfeeding.” Plans must also cover “comprehensive prenatal and postnatal lactation support [and] counseling.”

This means that breastfeeding mothers now have health insurance coverage for lactation counseling for as long as they are breastfeeding. And they don’t even have to make a copayment! This is a huge milestone for breast-feeding mothers who experience some of the difficulties detailed in Ms. Shute’s blog, either as they learn to breast feed, or as they work to continue breastfeeding once they return to their job. Fortunately, help is available and a required part of insurance coverage.

Still need help?

The National Women’s Law Center offers a toolkit to help women navigate their health insurance plans and appeal if their plan is not covering the services or supplies they need. Click here to access our toolkit which includes Frequently Asked Questions, facts about the law, and sample appeal letters.

If you still have questions, or need assistance, contact us at 1.866.Pill4Us or pill4us@nwlc.org.