U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill has introduced legislation that would require TRICARE — health insurance provided to members of the military and their families — to cover breast-feeding equipment, like breast pumps, along with support and counseling, as required by most health plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Currently, as part of breast-feeding 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.
The National Military Family Association quickly endorsed McCaskill’s bill.
“The National Military Family Association thanks Sen. McCaskill for introducing the TRICARE Moms Improvement Act,” read a statement by the National Military Family Association. “Our Association has long been an advocate for improving the quality of life of our military family members who have sacrificed greatly in support of our nation. Ensuring that military health care benefits are on par with civilian coverage is one of our top priorities.”
“As someone who was a single, working mother, I know first-hand the importance of comprehensive, affordable health care when caring for a new child,” said McCaskill, a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. “This is commonsense legislation that I hope will see quick action by my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. New mothers in the military and military spouses deserve access to the services consistent with coverage available in the private sector.”
TRICARE benefits are not subject to the mandates of the ACA that affect private health insurance plans.