by Caitlin Westerson, Policy Manager
It’s women’s health week. And while there are a plethora of reasons why the passage of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is great for women, it’s really important to note that the ACA made some services free for those insured in state-regulated plans. That’s right, free. Zero. Zip. Zilch. No copays, no coinsurance, no deductibles. The ACA significantly expanded access to preventative services for women, free of charge. Most common are screenings for a variety of health care services likely to affect women. Here are four of these services that you probably didn’t know were covered by your health insurance…for free!
1.Birth control (contraceptives) and counseling
The ability to plan your pregnancy and your future should not be a privilege. All women should be able to make decisions about if, and when, they are ready to become a parent. The ACA is looking out for you. If you have a state-regulated plan, your health insurance carrier is required to cover your birth control at no cost to you.
2.STI and HIV testing
Sexually-active women have access to annual counseling for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), and testing for most of them depending on your age and risk factors. STI’s, including HIV, can sometimes have life changing effects, so it’s important to know your status—especially since it’s free.
Women experience depression at roughly twice the rate of men. In fact, depression is the number one mental health issue that affects women. Because of the profound impacts depression can have, you can now get screened for depression at your primary care provider’s office free of any out of pocket charges. If you’re feeling hopeless or think you might be experiencing depression, talk with your doctor.
Women—well, any adult 19 years and older—who are enrolled in state-regulated health insurance plans are now eligible to receive recommended vaccines without any copays or coinsurance, and you don’t even have to meet your deductible! This is especially great news for young women because it is recommended to get the HPV vaccination before age 26. Considering HPV can lead to cervical cancer, this seems like a no-brainer—even with the two follow up shots.
The best way to get the most out of your health insurance plan is to cash in on these free preventive services—and lucky for you, there’s way more than four! For a complete list of copay free services for women (and all adults) click here and be sure to check out our Copay-Free Services palm card here—maybe even print one and hang it on your fridge.