An article released by the Navy Times today details plans regarding a bill introduced by Sen Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., that would require Tricare to cover breast pumps for Active Duty members as well as military dependents. The Affordable Care Act, introduced in 2013 to improve healthcare nation wide currently requires insurance companies to cover the full cost of renting or buying pumps as well as lactation counseling and support. However, as the single source for healthcare to military personnel, Tricare is exempt from this and most of the requirements of the ACA. At this time, Tricare will only cover the cost of a pump for mothers of premature or at risk newborns.
As an active duty member, it was vital for me to have a quality pump to ensure that I could provide the nutrition needed to my son. Without a pump, we would have spent hundreds of dollars on formula during his first year. This issue is near and dear to my heart, as many Soldiers do not have the funds to secure a pump and therefore rely upon the formula provided by programs like WIC. By ensuring that medical equipment provisions through Tricare are on par with civilian counterparts, we will be able to ensure that our Soldiers are getting and giving the best care during the crucial first years of their children’s lives.
Senator McCaskill’s bill, S1994, is already drawing praise from the National Military Family Association, an advocacy group representing military dependents, retirees and families. “Ensuring that military health care benefits are on par with civilian coverage is one of our top priorities,” NMFA officials said.
Please contact your Senator, and let them know that you would like them to support S1994 and help military families obtain the same benefits that their civilian counterparts are already enjoying.