Frequently Asked Questions

Love it or hate it, the Affordable Care Act is great for breastfeeding!  Breast pumps are a required benefit but your company could provide you with the best pump available or a simple hand pump.  Covering lactation services is also a required benefit but insurance companies are still sorting out what this means.  However, more and more of our clients are receiving insurance reimbursement for a private consultation or going back to work class, so submitting a claim and appealing initial denials are always worth the effort.  Even if the services are not covered by insurance, the claim should be reimbursable if you have a Flex Spending account.

Five steps to insurance reimbursement

  1. Contact your insurance company- Find out what your benefits are under your plan. Ask what codes are covered. The most common codes we use are Z39.1 Maternal lactation care and 99404-33 Breastfeeding counseling. There are many diagnoses codes we use as well but until we see you, we won’t know what these might be.
  2. Get approval or the appropriate referral from your doctor if possible.
  3. See us! Many people are not sure if insurance will cover your visit with us but know that our high-quality service is worth every penny that they are spending. However, getting your ducks in a row first helps with getting reimbursed later.
  4. Ask what the process is to submit a claim with your insurance company.
  5. Submit 3 times if needed. Many people who have been told my services wouldn’t be covered have gotten reimbursed by being the squeaky wheel. Once a claims adjuster has seen my bill 3 times, it is often cheaper at that time to provide some reimbursement. We encourage you to make 3 copies of all the paperwork and just keep mailing them in if the claim is rejected.

Providing you with a hospital receipt with diagnostic codes makes it more likely that our clients will be reimbursed by insurance and we are happy to provide this service.

The overwhelming amount of scientific evidence on the benefits of breastfeeding has been influencing many insurance companies to include breastfeeding related costs into their benefit plans.  They will often cover International Board Certified Lactation Consultant services or the purchase of a breast pump.  Unfortunately, the coverage varies widely under different insurance plans.

For more information, you may also visit: http://www.aap.org/breastfeeding/files/pdf/CODING.pdf

Best for Babes resoundingly says “Yes!”

According to Best for Babes, “Last year, the New York Times published an article (by Amber McCann, IBCLC) about lactation consultant Freda Rosenfeld. A reader responded that the fee charged by lactation consultants is outrageous … depending on where you live, it can cost between $120 and $200+ per session.  It is wise for parents and parents-to-be to understand and evaluate what IBCLCs do and ask Are IBCLCs worth it? We come back with a resounding YES.”

Marsha Walker, a renowned IBCLC, asks: Why hire an IBCLC?

“While at first glance the services of an IBCLC lactation consultant may seem pricey and out of the range of many families in a tight economy, we should also realize that the return on this investment can be priceless. Most of our health services are reimbursed by insurance companies or employers who are self-insured. An up-front $200 investment for a family can save them $1500-$2000 in formula costs, hundreds of dollars because they do not need to miss time off from work to care for a sick infant, hundreds of dollars because they do not need to pay co-pays for physician visits, and the savings that accrue from the avoidance of big-ticket items like childhood obesity, diabetes, and other acute and chronic diseases. That $200 investment in a child’s health lasts a lifetime.

An insurance carrier can also save millions of dollars by reimbursing families or IBCLCs for lactation care and services. Some have figured this out and reimburse for these services. Others seem content to go right on paying for preventable diseases.

One thing that consumers can do to help fix this problem is to contact their insurance carrier and employer and ask that the services of IBCLC lactation consultants be reimbursed. If lactation services are denied by an insurance carrier, appeal this decision. If that does not work, file a complaint with your state insurance commissioner’s office. These services are often not covered because of a perceived lack of demand. We need to get feisty and ask for what we need. Since when do women sit back and not advocate for their families and themselves? If you want and need these services then demand them!

The US Lactation Consultant Association is working hard every day to improve reimbursement for IBCLC lactation consultant services. But we can’t do it alone. The voices of everyone visiting this website can go a long way to alert insurers and employers that breastfeeding families have an unmet need that is cost effective for everyone.”

Thanks, Marsha!

I know, getting breastfeeding help does seem expensive! More and more insurance companies are providing reimbursal.  We provide a hospital receipt with coding to submit to your insurance company. On the other, not breastfeeding is expensive. Baby formula costs at least $150.00 per month for at least 12 months if breastfeeding doesn’t work out. This is a cost of at least $1800.oo for a year.  So, in fact, by investing in a board-certified lactation consultant, you are really saving money over the long term. Lactation consultants at The Breastfeeding Center of Ann Arbor are highly trained, board-certified healthcare professionals. Anyone can call themselves a lactation consultant, so be sure that whoever you might hire to give you breastfeeding help you has reached these high standards.

The IBCLC Certification is the only professional standard of competency in the lactation field. It is the official, international credential for those in the breastfeeding and lactation field. A combination of basic training, continuing education, practice with mothers and babies, and successful completion of the examination assures that the designation, IBCLC, identifies a member of the health care team who posses the specialized skills and knowledge. There are now approximately 16,500 IBCLCs worldwide. — adapted from IBCLC Press release, Falls Church, October 15, 2004.

An in-office initial consultation is $125.00.  An initial consultation will take about one to one and a half hours to get a complete understanding of your breastfeeding needs.  We are happy to come to your home or to the hospital for an additional travel fee. Please bring your breast pump and anything else you might want or need. Don’t forget a support person if possible.

We are very well trained. Barbara has been working in this field for 21 years and is a total breastfeeding geek. She knows breastfeeding!

We are kind and respectful. We want you to leave our visits feeling hopeful and empowered!

Our visits are about 1.5 hours. We need this time to get a complete understanding of your breastfeeding needs.

We offer our Breastfeeding Cafe on Fridays for you. This free drop-in group is free of charge and helps us keep in touch while you meet other mothers and babies.

  • Sore nipples and/or breasts
  • Latching and positioning issues
  • Babies who can’t latch
  • Worries about your breastmilk supply
  • Preterm babies
  • Twins
  • Returning to work
  • Issues with older babies

Your private consultation will include:

  • Compassionate and respectful care
  • Full medical history of mother and baby
  • Physical exam of mother’s breasts and baby
  • Physical exam of the baby
  • Pre and post test weights to determine milk transfer during feed
  • Thorough evaluation of feeding
  • Written care plan
  • An insurance receipt for you to submit for possible reimbursal
  • Follow-up phone support and, if needed, follow-up visits at a lower fee

No. If a mother is comfortable and the baby is getting plenty of milk, then they are already successful!

Once you contact us we try to see you within 24-48 hours. We know how worried and scared families can be so you need help ASAP. Being able to schedule consultations and retail support when it is convenient for everyone has been working really well.

722 Brooks Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. View on Google Maps. Our building is a little business building set in a neighborhood. There is a little parking lot to park in. Come in the big front door. There is a sign over it that says Center for the Childbearing Year.

We provide private breastfeeding consultations, prenatal breastfeeding classes, free, drop-in support groups, breast pumps and parts, nursing bra and tank tops with expert fittings, and professional training for health care providers and doulas.

Chelsea P.