New TRICARE Lactation Program to Be Featured on Facebook

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TRICARE's new lactation policy will be highlighted today in a live Facebook town hall to answer beneficiaries' questions at 1 p.m. EST and 10 a.m. PST, TRICARE officials said.

Bobbie Matthews, a health care policy analyst with the Defense Health Agency's medical benefits and reimbursement office will conduct the town hall at

Cost shares and copays are waived for TRICARE's new program, which will provide coverage for a manual or standard electric breast pump, related pump supplies and up to six one- to two-hour lactation counseling sessions, Matthews said.

Program Expected to Be in Place July 1

The new TRICARE program is expected to be in place by July 1, Matthews said.
The new provision stems from the National Defense Authorization Act of fiscal year 2015, she said, adding that those expenses are also retroactive if they were purchased on or after Dec. 19, 2014, when the act was signed into law.

What's Covered

TRICARE will provide "broad requirements" of a manual or standard electric breast pump, which will be available through network providers, said Ann Fazzini, DHA team chief for medical benefits and reimbursement office.

"We encourage beneficiaries to monitor, and once the policy is implemented, they can work with their managed care support contractor in their area," Fazzini said.

TRICARE network providers also will process claims for beneficiaries.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of a baby's life, with continued nursing for at least the first year as foods are introduced.

"The Centers for Disease Control says breastfeeding is one of the most effective steps a mother can take to protect the health of her baby," Fazzini said.

"TRICARE currently allows lactation counseling by authorized providers as part of good clinical practice," she said. "The provision of six additional lactation sessions is a very generous benefit. We're pleased we got this provision from NDAA for mothers and babies."