By Lois Uttley
Overdue on your mammogram or Pap smear? Trying to quit smoking or lose weight? Thinking about having a baby?
It’s National Women’s Health Week. What better time to make an appointment and get caught up on the health care you need!
Many women’s health services are now covered by our health insurance plans without extra charges, like co-pays and deductibles, because of the new health care law (the Affordable Care Act). Because we don’t have to dig into our pocketbooks for those extra charges, we can actually afford to take advantage of the health insurance coverage we have. Examples of what’s now covered without co-pays include:
- Cervical cancer screening for sexually active women;
- Mammograms every 1 to 2 years for women over 40;
- Help quitting smoking, especially if you are pregnant;
- Cholesterol and blood pressure tests;
- Folic acid supplements for women who want to become pregnant; and
- Osteoporosis screening for at-risk women over 60.
There’s improved coverage for our children, as well, including no-copay coverage for immunizations against common childhood diseases, tests of hearing and vision and screening for possible autism. And, our adult children can stay on our family health insurance policies until age 26, so we don’t have to worry about them going without health insurance after graduating from high school or college. In fact, we think the coverage for moms and our kids if so great, we’re calling it MamaCare!
We will have even more great preventive care coverage starting August 1, when the women’s preventive services provision of the health care law takes effect. From then on, all new health insurance plans will be required to cover, without co-pays, these critically-important women’s health services:
- Contraceptive services, including birth control pills, IUDs and even tubal ligations;
- Breastfeeding counseling and rental of press pumps;
- Screening for STIs, gestational diabetes and domestic violence; and
- Annual well-woman visits, when you and your primary care provider can make a plan to keep you healthy.
At Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need, we’re counting down to this great new coverage that will benefit millions of women. Learn more about how you will benefit at our Countdown to Coverage website.
Lois Uttley, MPP, is co-founder of Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need, a national initiative working to make sure the Affordable Care Act meets the needs of women and our families.