New York, December 8, 2015: Neighborhood Health Plan receives the highest grade out of 117 healthcare insurance plans nationally ranked by the National Breastfeeding Center (NBfC) on the provision of breastfeeding benefits to those insurers’ members.
Initial research was conducted in 2013 to see how the insurance industry was responding to the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPACA), which went into effect on August 1, 2012. This marks the third year that NBfC has scored these policies.
“I wish we could say that coverage is steadily improving every year, but it isn’t,” says Susanne Madden, COO, of the National Breastfeeding Center. “While gains have been made, the majority of insurers continue to skirt around the intent of the law and many continue to provide the least amount of benefit in order to comply with the law.”
That said, “there are some standouts this year that really should be looked to for emulation by the rest” said Madden. Neighborhood Health Plan zoomed up from a score of D+ last year, mostly due to greater transparency and a revamping of its policy, and Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield lifted its scores from C+ to A- thanks to offering greater choice in pumps and covering counseling.
“As parents become more educated health care consumers, this type of information can help them make more informed decisions about the value they get for their dollar,” says Albert Wolf, Chief Financial Officer of the NBfC. “Every insurer will tell mothers that they cover breastfeeding services, but most consumers don’t have the ability to see and compare how well those services are actually covered. Armed with these grades, they can have a better idea about how well breastfeeding services will be supported by various insurers when they’re shopping for insurance companies.”
As with every year, those companies covering home visits, offering a variety of pumps that are able to be dispensed from both providers and medical supply companies, and utilizing trained lactation consultants are the ones that scored the highest.
View the 2015 Scorecard here.
Download a pdf of this release here.
NBfC assesses commercial insurance companies’ published policies and guidelines and assigns a grade based on the adequacy of coverage provided, using The Verden Group’s Policy Search tool to locate official Medical Policies, Google to search insurers’ member and public domains for guidelines, and newsletters that contained information about each company’s breastfeeding coverage.
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