Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Improved Health Care Benefits for Moms

Thanks to the new health care laws, moms are now entitled to new and less costly perks from their health plans. According to Lucia Divenere, the director of government affairs for the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, moms now have direct access to see ob-gyn, have access to a private & clean place to pump at their place of employment and have coverage for preventive health care, including mammograms and immunizations!

Direct access to your ob-gyn is crucial because it means you no longer need a referral from your primary care physician! If your insurance previously required you to get a referral or if it gave you limits as to how many times per year you could go in for a visit, you no longer have these limits. You can now see your gynocologist as many times as needed without having to pay more, get a referral or wait until it's been more than 6-12 months!

Are you still breastfeeding but your maternity leave is over and you have to go back to work? No worries! Thanks to new legislature, you can continue to pump at work in a place other than a public restroom! Employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide a "reasonable break time" to express milk for a child up to 1 year old in a place other than a bathroom. The place must be shielded from view and be private to avoid intrusion as well. Unfortunately, the "reasonable break time" doesn't get too specific and it's not a "paid" break but it's better than having to pump in your car or a bathroom stall! While this aspect of the legislature isn't perfected, it does give every mom that wants to continue breastfeeding, the opportunity to continue to pump at work! This is a triumph for nursing moms and their babies alike!

Starting next month, all health plans must cover routine screenings and visits. Details about this aspect of the new legislature are still being sorted by the Health Resources and Services Administration but Divenere says the law specifies coverage of clinical breast exams, mammograms and immunizations. After September 2010, if your health plan denies coverage for preventive care, contact the appeals office to get what you're entitled to!

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