Many Kaiser plans have found loopholes and "opted out" of providing the breast feeding supplies and support that the Affordable Care Act mandates. Parents with these plans are left without any support to establish one of the single healthiest practices that can be done in a new family.
Of the plans that do receive coverage, many only provide a manual pump. Manual pumps may work for some parents, particularly those that are only occasionally pumping, but they are often highly impractical for those returning to full-time work and attempting to maintain adequate supply. The choice of what pump a parent needs should be based on the number of times they will be pumping, their physical needs, and the recommendations of their care providers. Failure to do so discourages many families from maintaining breast feeding.
Breast feeding exclusively for six months and continuing until the age of two is the recommendation from the most prominent medical agencies in the world. It has been shown as a leading protective factor against multiple morbidities in infants and mothers alike. Now is the time to support new families and healthy babies by revising your policy to ensure that the highest quality support is given at this crucial time.
We are calling on Kaiser to put the health of families first and take the following steps:
- follow practices that remove obstacles for breast feeding families with supportive care, clear information, and easy access to benefits
- provide the breast pumps and other supplies recommended by a patient's care provider based on the needs of that family in ALL health plans
- cover costs of counseling services for parents in need from the postpartum period throughout the duration of breast feeding
The costs of these services are small in comparison to the dramatic health benefits that breastfeeding can provide. Our families deserve this standard of care.