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Increasing demand for breast pumps under Affordable Care Act

By Pauleen Le, ple@wkbt.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 06:09:57 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 30 2013 06:56:06 PM CST
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

The Affordable Care Act has brought sweeping changes to health care for Americans.

The new law now covers the cost of breast pumps and that's causing an increase in demand that can be seen in the La Crosse area.

Health officials said breast-feeding is the best source of nutrients for newborns.

Tammy Dutton the CEO of Degen Berglund Pharmacy and Medical Supply said the opportunity for women to provide the best nutrients to their babies is now more in reach than ever before.

“In the past breast pumps were unaffordable to some people,” said Dutton. “They couldn't afford to purchase their own so they went without and chose not to do breast feeding. This is another option for them so that they can provide that needed nutrition for their babies.”

Dutton said the average breast pump can run anywhere from $180 to nearly $300.

Now that the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover that cost, Dutton said more women are taking advantage of the savings.

“We've had more questions from moms-to-be, that they've being proactive and trying to get the breast pump ahead of time even before the baby is born,” said Dutton.

But lactation consultant Beth Padesky at Mayo Clinic Health System said women should wait until they actually need one before getting it.

“They don't need a pump during their pregnancy,” said Padesky. “After the baby is born, depending on what their insurance is and what their circumstances are, we can help them access a pump when they actually need it.”

Both Dutton and Padesky said women shouldn't worry about a shortage of breast pumps in the area anytime soon, and keep in mind, some women may not need one at all.

“I think the idea that you can't be successful at breast-feeding if you don't have a piece of equipment is a little misleading because really all you need is the baby,” said Padesky. “The baby is the best pump and they will do what they need to do.”

Padesky also said more and more women are breast-feeding, whether naturally or through express milk with the pumps.

She said families are seeing the health benefits to both the mother and the baby.
This could in turn have a significant impact on lowering health care costs in the future.

Health officials also encourage people to check with their insurance companies on restrictions as to when breast pumps are covered and what brands are covered by their insurance.

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