This weekend, the Washington Post published an article describing how the breast pump industry is faring now that the health care law requires health insurance coverage of such pumps. The article quoted our very own Judy Waxman and yours truly. As expected, there were many comments from readers vehemently disagreeing with the premise of covering breast pumps. The gist of the complaint is: “why should I pay for other peoples’ breast pumps. Why do women get these things for free?”
My initial response to these complaints is – as I have explained time and again – women are not getting their birth control or pumps for “free.” They are paying for it when they pay for health insurance, either by working for it and having it included as part of the employee’s benefit package (and likely still paying part of the premium) or by paying for it directly on the individual market. So this stuff isn’t “free,” the woman IS paying for it. Do you call the preventive care visits that now don’t have a no co-pay as “free?” No, it is not free. You pay premiums to your health insurance company so that they cover these medical care costs when you need such care. Read more »
This blog post is a part of NWLC’s Mother’s Day 2012 blog series. For all our Mother’s Day posts, please click here.
Many of my friends will celebrate their first Mother’s Day being a mom this year. Others have recently expanded their families or have a first child on the way.
I’m happy that all these kids were born after the health care law was passed – because that means my friends can be secure that their kids will have access to health care. That includes my friend Robyn, whose son Jax had to have heart surgery when he was only three months old. Without the health care law, Robyn would have to worry about Jax hitting a lifetime limit on his insurance or being denied coverage for having a pre-existing condition.
The health care law also improves the health of women – like my friend Robyn and all my friends who are new moms.
Preventive Care with No Cost Sharing for New and Expecting Moms
All new health plans are already providing preventive services – such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension screenings – with no cost sharing. Starting this August, the list of preventive services will expand to cover women’s health services including many services important to expecting and new moms. These services include:
Prenatal Care: Testing for gestational diabetes without cost sharing and a well-woman visit including prenatal care means that expecting moms will know what steps they need to take to have a healthy pregnancy.
Breastfeeding Support and Supplies: New moms will have access to lactation counseling and rental of breastfeeding supplies without copays or deductibles. In addition to the preventive services, employers are now required to provide a clean space—that is not a bathroom—for new moms to pump.
Contraceptive Coverage: The full range of FDA-approved contraceptive coverage, including birth control pills, rings, implants, tubal ligation and more will be provided by plans without cost sharing. This is important to new moms because birth control helps women plan pregnancies so moms can access preconception and prenatal care and space pregnancies to help have a healthy baby.
In 2014, all health insurance plans in the individual or small group market will have to cover a core set of Essential Health Benefits. This means that when a woman becomes pregnant, she won’t have to worry that her insurance doesn’t cover maternity care. Whether she gets coverage through a small business employer, on the individual market, or the new health insurance marketplaces called exchange – she will know that maternity care and other important health services for women are considered essential.
The Census Bureau released a new report today that found that 51 percent of working women who gave birth to their first child between 2006 and 2008 received paid leave, compared to 42 percent between 1996 and 2000.
Let’s start with the half-full perspective: the percentage of women who received paid leave did increase, and one reason may be the campaign for paid family leave that has had some victories at the state and local level, most notably in California in 2002.
But the glass is, almost literally, half-empty: 49 percent of new mothers didn’t have access to paid leave. Read more »