By Ashley Mayo, Strategic Engagement Fellow
The Affordable Care Act, upheld by the Supreme Court last month, requires that insurance companies provide a number of women’s preventive services without a co-pay beginning August 1st.
That means that women will soon have access to the following needed services without paying out of pocket:
Well-woman visits– All adult women will have access to an annual preventive care visit focused on their specific needs. During these visits, a woman receives all appropriate preventive and medical services, and discusses with her doctor how best to get the care she needs to stay healthy.
Gestational Diabetes Testing- In some women, pregnancy hormones block insulin from doing its job, causing Gestational Diabetes, which can result in serious complications for both the baby and mother if left untreated. All women who are 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, as well as those at high risk for the complication, will have access to Gestational Diabetes testing, allowing for earlier treatment of the condition and better health outcomes.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Testing– HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer. While the Pap Smear, a test given at annual well-woman visits, identifies the virus, women over age 30 will have access to the more advanced HPV DNA test every three years, even if their Pap results are normal. This kind of early detection and screening has been shown to reduce the prevalence of cervical cancer.
STI counseling and HIV testing and counseling– Sexually active women will now have access to annual counseling on HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These sessions help patients understand and take control of their own health, and have been shown to reduce risky behaviors.
Contraception and contraceptive counseling– Women will have access to all FDA approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling. (These recommendations do not include abortifacient drugs.) Contraception and family planning are essential preventive services for women, as they are critical to appropriate birth spacing and intended pregnancy, which result in improved maternal health and birth outcomes.
Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling– Pregnant and post-partum women will have access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling, as well as breastfeeding equipment. Breastfeeding has been shown to be an effective preventive measure which improves both maternal and infant health. However, in the past, the cost of nursing supplies and breast pumps has prevented many women from breastfeeding their children.
Domestic Violence Screening– All women will have access to screening and counseling for domestic and interpersonal violence.These screenings help detect abuse earlier, and improve women’s safety and health.
An estimated 362,000 Colorado women are expected to benefit from these expanded preventive coverages!
Starting on August 25th, CCHI will begin a countdown to coverage, providing you with more detailed information on how these newly covered services will help you and all Coloradans. Stay tuned!