McCaskill Bill Requiring TRICARE to Cover Breastfeeding Services Included in Defense Bill

Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.

Committee approval comes as more than 50 medical, family, and healthcare groups endorse Senator's bill to provide members of the military and their families healthcare coverage consistent with private sector

WASHINGTON - The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved a provision by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill to require TRICARE-health insurance provided to members of the military and their families-to cover breastfeeding equipment, such as breast pumps, along with support and counseling, as required by most health plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The move comes as more than 50 groups, including the National Women's Law Center, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Academy of Nursing recently endorsed the legislation. Full text of the letter can be found HERE

"This legislation would ensure that military families have breastfeeding coverage that is similar to the coverage provided in most private health plans," read a statement from the groups. "Most importantly, this improvement would support these women's efforts to successfully breastfeed and enable women and their infants to benefit from the positive health outcomes related to breastfeeding."

"As someone who was a single, working mother, I know firsthand the importance of comprehensive, affordable healthcare when caring for a new child," said McCaskill, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. "New mothers in the military and military spouses deserve access to the same high standard of services we've achieved in the civilian sector under the health care law, and I'm glad my colleagues on both sides of the aisle have moved this commonsense legislation a step closer to the finish line."

The National Military Family Association has also endorsed McCaskill's bill.

Currently, as part of breastfeeding support, the ACA requires insurance plans to cover breast pump rental or provide breast pumps for new moms, as well as lactation counseling and support.

With TRICARE, members of the military and military spouses are left to pay the full costs out of pocket for these services. TRICARE benefits are not subject to the mandates of the ACA that affect private health insurance plans. As such, when the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) determined that breastfeeding equipment and support should be covered by health insurance companies under the provisions of the ACA, this requirement did not extend to TRICARE.

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Go to: to read highlights of McCaskill's fight to improve our nation's healthcare system.

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Copyright:(c) 2010 Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc.


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