Great news for 47 million American women:
Beginning Wednesday, August 1st, millions of women will have access to eight new preventative health care services, with no out of pocket cost. The “Preventative Women’s Health Care Amendment” is a part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The eight services were based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the new services will improve health care for nearly 47 million women. “Starting tomorrow, thanks to the new health care law, all insurance policies will be required to cover new vital care that women need to stay healthy. And they will have to cover the care without charging women anything out of pocket,” Sebelius said.
It means that insurance companies that didn’t cover the services at all will now have to provide them, and also, insurers that charged patients co-pays for those services will now have to provide them free of charge to the patient. “It will also be illegal finally in America to charge women more than men just because they are women. In other words, being a woman will no longer be a preexisting condition in this country,” said Sebelius.
The goal is to detect potentially serious conditions earlier, increasing the chances of survival and minimizing cost. “One of the most important tools we women have is mammograms. But in the midst of the health care debate, they wanted to take our mammograms away from us. Well, hey, not while I’m here,” said Sen. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland). “What we now will be able to do is that the top killers of women will no longer go undetected.”
The eight new prevention-related services are:
• Well-woman visits.
• Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.
• Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.
• FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling.
• Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.
• HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.
• Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women.
• HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.