Insurers Must Cover Breastfeeding Counseling, Education, and Breastfeeding Equipment and Supplies without Co-Pays, Coinsurance, or Deductibles – See Letter Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an action to remind health insurers that they are required under New York Insurance Law to provide coverage for comprehensive lactation support and counseling, as well as breastfeeding equipment and supplies without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles. This guidance by the Department of Financial Services complements the Governor’s 2018 Women’s Agenda to support the health and reproductive rights of New York women.
“New York is leader in the fight for equality and we will continue to stand up to help ensure new mothers receive the support and services they deserve,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this action, insurers are reminded that they are required to provide coverage for lactation support services, helping mothers to care for themselves and their children without the financial burden of co-pays and deductibles.”
“Educating women on the benefits of breastfeeding and supporting new mothers in their decision to breastfeed are essential to promote the health of babies,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Governor Cuomo and I understand that raising healthy children is a concern for the entire community, not only the responsibility of mothers. In New York, we’re removing barriers that women face trying to raise healthy families and making it easier for mothers to commit to breastfeeding their children.”
Under New York Insurance Law, insurers must cover maternity care, which must include coverage for parent education and assistance and training in breast and bottle feeding. In addition, they must provide coverage for breastfeeding equipment such as breast milk pumps, as well as comprehensive lactation support services, including counseling and education on breastfeeding, without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria T. Vullo said, “New York continues to lead the nation in ensuring that women receive the full health care services to which they are entitled. As part of covered maternity care, insurers must provide comprehensive lactation support services to new mothers.”
These initiatives are part of a series of actions by Governor Cuomo to champion women’s rights, known as “New York’s Promise to Women: Ever Upward.” In the past two years alone, the Governor has signed legislation to combat sexual assault on college campuses through the Enough is Enough Act; prevent sexual harassment in the workplace regardless of the size of the employer; end pregnancy discrimination; establish the longest and most comprehensive paid family leave program in the nation; and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Last month, the Governor announced the passage of new legislation in FY 2019 Budget that ensures equal access to diaper changing stations in public restrooms for men and women to support equal parenting. Also included in the Budget was the requirement for certain state buildings that are open to the public to have lactation rooms for nursing mothers.
In January, the Governor took action to ensure that contraceptive drugs and devices are covered by commercial health insurance policies without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles regardless of the future of the Affordable Care Act; that contraceptives are available in amounts exceeding one month’s supply at a time; and that all medically necessary abortion services are covered by commercial health insurance policies without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles. Recently, the Governor has also taken steps to require insurers to provide medically necessary coverage for 3-D mammograms without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles.
To learn more about New York’s Promise to Women, click here. Consumers who have questions or wish to file a complaint may call the DFS Consumer Help Line at (800) 342-3736 or log onto www.dfs.ny.gov for information and assistance.