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Open Access Massachusetts Parents' Experiences With Insurance Coverage for Lactation Consultant Services

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The Women's Preventive Services component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires coverage of "lactation supplies and services" with no out-of-pocket cost to the patient. However, as IBCLCs providing in-home lactation consults, we found that during the first year of the ACA mandate, clients often described disappointment with coverage for home visits and for breastfeeding support in general. To have a more specific picture of women's experiences, our association conducted an online survey of families in Massachusetts who sought insurance coverage for IBCLC care outside of the hospital since the ACA provisions came into effect. The goal was to identify the barriers that families who need these services commonly dealt with. Barriers reported by survey respondents included confusing and inconsistent information provided by insurance companies about coverage, lack of coverage for the time and place they sought IBCLC services, lack of coverage for IBCLCs at all, and restriction to a network that did not include IBCLC providers. These findings suggest that many women are not yet receiving the benefits of insurance coverage for lactation support and point to specific changes that insurance providers should make to provide adequate coverage as mandated under the ACA.

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Keywords: AFFORDABLE CARE ACT; BREASTFEEDING; INSURANCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2017

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