Great news! Starting today 47 million more women will have access to additional preventative care services without a co-pay. When the Affordable Care Act was passed into law in March 2010, one of its goals was to make preventative care available to all Americans by making it available with no co-pay. So far the Affordable Care Act has ensured that women have access to mammograms and cervical cancer screenings with no co-pays. The 8 provisions that go into effect today go even further to ensuring that women have control over their health.
All new healthcare plans starting on or after August 1, 2012 must now cover with no co-pay:
- All FDA approved birth control and birth control counseling
- Annual well-woman visits
- Screening for gestational diabetes
- Domestic and Interpersonal violence and screening
- Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
- Testing for HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Counseling for sexually transmitted infections
- Counseling and screening for HIV
The changes are long overdue: the United States ranks below the vast majority of developed nations in both maternal and infant mortality. Women who have access to birth control are better able to time and space their pregnancies, which leads to better maternal and infant health and lower maternal mortality rates.
The new coverage mandate will also help lower the U.S.’s unintended pregnancy rate, which currently accounts for 37% of all live births. By giving women access to birth control with no co-pay more women will get pregnant by choice, not chance.
These new guidelines take women’s health care decisions out of the hands of politicians and insurance companies, and puts the power where it belongs: with women. Increased access to preventative care services will have a large impact on the lives of these women by promoting better health outcomes making today a day for women to celebrate.
Posted by Jennie Wetter, Director of Public Policy