I got some bad news yesterday (<–slightly dramatic statement): Unless my baby is born premature (no thanks), has a problem sucking (again, no thanks), or is a multiple (pretty sure that’s not possible) they won’t reimburse me/pay for a breast pump.
Now, I don’t normally expect insurance to cover such things – but with the introduction of the Affordable Healthcare Act and Women’s Preventative Services I had my hopes up that it would be covered. I was wrong. Not only that, but if I DID qualify for the pump, my insurance would cover 80% of the cost and ONLY if I had already met my yearly deductible of $200 (I’ve only paid $10). So basically, I would be paying roughly the same price.
All things considered, I would MUCH rather have a healthy baby who is a breastfeeding champ – over a “free” breast pump. In fact, I feel very lucky that my insurance is actually pretty kickass — 100% of my maternity care (as well as newborn care in the hospital) is covered. But in the grand scheme of things it pisses me off that loopholes like this are brushed under the rug. Not everyone has kickass insurance. Not everyone can afford to buy a quality breast pump. Yet people wonder why more mothers, especially working mothers, choose to formula feed?
— Jackie Jovi (@momjoviblog) March 20, 2013
If anything, this article basically explained why some people ARE getting coverage and other aren’t. Like most things in life, this law seems to be up to interpretation. Most importantly, the law doesn’t state that the pump has to be an ELECTRIC pump. It seems as though most plans and policies ARE providing manual pumps (FYI – mine is not). But, umm, have these people ever USED a manual pump? This is a manual pump:
It literally involves pumping your boob with your hand — like you’re cranking water from a well. One at a time.
I could see a manual pump being useful if you were using it occasionally — or if you were using it while nursing on the other side. But in the article a pediatrician (A WOMAN) made this comment and it really buttered my biscuit:
Dr. Kimberly Luft, a pediatrician with Kaiser Permanente, says the insurer would cover an electric pump if it were deemed a medical necessity. But manual pumps meet the basic needs of most moms, Luft says. She suggests women work with their employers to find enough time to use the devices.
The only rationale I have for Dr. Luft making this dumbass comment is that she has never had to pump at work. Or at all. Unless you want me to spend at least 3 hours of my day sitting at my desk ,with at least one of my boobs hanging out, there’s no way I could successfully use a manual pump for a year (which is how long I intend to pump) and actually still get my job done.
First of all — pumping IS work. It’s mind-numbing and tedious, and if you aren’t getting enough milk – it’s stressful. Hell it’s stressful even if you aren’t getting enough. Even with the BEST electric pump, pumping takes about 15-20 minutes (not including cleanup). And you usually have to do it 2-3 times a day (sometimes more when when you are going back to work when the baby is 8-10 weeks old, like me). With a manual pump?? We’re talking 30 minutes a side — MINIMUM.
Secondly – discussing pumping with your employer is awkward regardless of what type of pump you are using. Let’s be real – we are talking about boobs here. Yes, they are a food source, but seriously…boobs. Plus, we’re talking about time that COULD cut into your regular work hours. While I work for a very flexible and family-friendly company, not everyone is in the same boat as me. What if you’re a teacher? Or a nurse? Or you do a lot of traveling for a living? Yeah, that manual pump is doing jack shit for you.
I mean really… SHE WANTS US TO USE A MANUAL PUMP?? Even cows are milked with electric pumps.
But I guess on the plus side – think of how strong my hand would be?
While I do actually think the government is making a teeny, tiny step in the right direction – I don’t necessarily think that this was what was intended when the law was signed in 2010. These loopholes impact working mothers more than anything. And in a time where we have Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg implying that women need to “learn” how to play with the men in the corporate world (instead of actually breaking the mold and demanding change) – we need all the support we can get. And I’m not talking about this kind of support (<–sorry couldn’t help myself, this picture is too much).
(FYI – This is NOT what pumping really looks like. Well, the getup might be realistic, but the last thing I’m doing while pumping is walking around the house drinking a glass of water)
Seriously ladies (and men — who must be really interested in boobs if you’ve gotten this far), while we have come a really long way even in the past 7 years when it comes to breastfeeding – this is just ridiculous. I always go back to this silliness when someone questions WHY the government/insurance should provide coverage for breastfeeding and breastfeeding supplies: Viagra. Viagra is covered by insurance, but the means to make feeding our infants are not?
Yeah, that makes sense.