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Survey Reveals Vast Majority of Pregnant Women Are Unaware of Their Breastfeeding Rights Under the Affordable Care Act

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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 30, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Byram Healthcare, a leading provider of high-quality no-cost breast pumps through insurance, today released the results of a survey of 1,000 expectant mothers in the U.S. showing the overwhelming majority – 82 percent – do not know their breastfeeding rights under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Signed into law in 2010, the ACA provides specific benefits to support the breastfeeding journey, but eight years later, the benefits of this law are still not widely known. The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research and commissioned by Byram Healthcare.

The survey revealed that less than 1 in 5 expectant mothers (18 percent) knows all three of the main ACA benefits designed to support breastfeeding. Specifically:

  • 42 percent did not know breast pumps are covered at no cost
  • 64 percent did not know lactation consultant sessions are covered at no cost
  • 61 percent did not know employers must provide breaks for mothers to pump milk

Health plans cover breast pumps because they are critical to long-term success with breastfeeding and the impact of these benefits going unused is significant. According to the CDC, there are about 3.6 million births per year in the United States and approximately 83 percent of those moms will try breastfeeding.

"Obtaining a high-quality breast pump through insurance is the best kept secret of the Affordable Care Act, as are the related benefits," said Perry Bernocchi, CEO of Byram Healthcare. "Many expectant parents don't realize that their preferred breast pump can likely be obtained through insurance, which keeps them from getting a benefit to which they may be entitled. As an advocate for patients, we hope to help educate new and expectant parents on their rights and benefits."

The survey revealed that the knowledge gap could be due to where expectant mothers receive information about the ACA breastfeeding benefits. Less than a third (31 percent) of survey respondents received this information from their OB-GYN, while less than a quarter (23 percent) reported they received it from their insurance provider. Only 10 percent learned about the ACA breastfeeding benefits from lactation consultants.

"One of the ways women find out about getting a pump through insurance is from a lactation consultant, whether in a breastfeeding class or a one-on-one consultation," said Shari Criso, an RN, certified nurse midwife, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and nationally recognized parenting educator who was involved in the research. "If expectant parents don't know that lactation consultations are covered, they may not even get the opportunity to learn about the benefit."

The survey also uncovered that new mothers may be unnecessarily spending the early days with their newborn baby dealing with insurance reimbursement claims and medical supplies orders. More than 1 in 5 (21 percent) respondents believe that they can only order or receive a breast pump on their due date or after the baby's birth, and 46 percent think they must wait until 30 days before their due date to order a breast pump through insurance. In reality, expectant mothers can order their breast pump as soon as they know their due date, even if their insurance company does not allow shipment until closer to the delivery.

Survey results also revealed sixteen percent of expectant moms would not take advantage of ordering a breast pump through insurance because they think the reimbursement process is too complicated or time consuming. However, through providers such as Byram Healthcare, the breast pump ordering process is easy. Placing an order through Byram takes just minutes with a few simple steps, and expectant parents will receive their breast pump in 4 to 7 business days with most insurance companies.

For more information about receiving a breast pump through insurance, visit https://breastpumps.byramhealthcare.com/

*Note to editors: A fact sheet is available outlining more survey findings, as well as graphics illustrating statistics

About Byram Healthcare
Byram Healthcare has been a national leader in disposable medical supply delivery since 1968. Byram provides quality supplies, services and support, specializing in diabetes supplies, ostomy supplies, wound care supplies, urology supplies, incontinence supplies, enteral nutrition products and breast pumps. In 2017, Byram was acquired by Owens & Minor, a global healthcare services company, to expand the organization's ability to serve the continuum of care into the patient's home. Byram Healthcare is more prepared than ever to tackle the challenging, changing healthcare landscape. Byram Healthcare is here to deliver the products, services, and support needed to maximize clinical outcomes and manage complicated benefits. For more information, visit byramhealthcare.com.

About Owens & Minor
Owens & Minor, Inc. (NYSE:OMI) is a global healthcare solutions company with integrated technologies, products, and services aligned to deliver significant and sustained value for healthcare providers and manufacturers across the continuum of care. With 17,000 dedicated teammates serving healthcare industry customers in 90 countries, Owens & Minor helps to reduce total costs across the supply chain by optimizing episode and point-of-care performance, freeing up capital and clinical resources, and managing contracts to optimize financial performance. A FORTUNE 500 company, Owens & Minor has annualized revenues exceeding $10 billion, including contributions from the Halyard Health S&IP business. Founded in 1882, Owens & Minor has operated continuously from its Richmond, Virginia, headquarters. Today, the company now has distribution, production, customer service and sales facilities located across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S.  For more information about Owens & Minor, visit owens-minor.com, follow @Owens_Minor on Twitter, and connect on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/owens-&-minor.

Methodological Notes:
The Byram Healthcare Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. expectant moms, between June 28 and July 6, 2018, using an email invitation and an online survey. The margin of error for the survey was +/- 3.1 percentage points.

Press Contact: 
Kelsey BaRoss
RoseComm for Byram Healthcare
(201) 450-2716
kbaross@rosecomm.com

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