By Lauren Reisig, JWI Intern
It’s a familiar scene for a woman: Standing at the pharmacy counter playing the “How much will my monthly birth control prescription cost today?” guessing game. There are numerous factors that contribute to the fluctuating cost of a prescription: brand vs. generic, deductibles, co-pays, insurance changes, etc. Rarely are such variables in the hands of the patient, and yet women and women’s health pay the price.
A woman who could afford birth control pills at $10 per pack may not have that same luxury when it costs $30 or even $90 per pack. Skyrocketing health care costs may force women to decline crucial disease screening at annual exams, or even forego exams altogether. Women are essentially being forced to choose cost over care.
Today, that all changes.
As of today, August 1, 2012, key provisions of the Affordable Care Act have officially taken effect, marking a breakthrough in the affordability of women’s healthcare. No more co-pays for preventive care. No more premiums for annual examinations. No more declining crucial screenings or counseling because of the cost. Bottom line: no longer will women have to choose between their physical and financial wellbeing.
JWI is a staunch supporter of these eight new provisions, listed below, which allow women, not insurance companies, to control the decisions made regarding their healthcare and their bodies:
- Well-woman visits
- Gestational diabetes screenings that help protect the mother and her child from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases
- Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
- FDA-approved contraception products, which have proven health benefits like a reduced risk of cancer and protecting against osteoporosis
- Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
- HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older
- Sexually transmitted infections counseling
- HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women
Of course, as with all health care and government policies, there exists a fine print. The regulations apply to new, non-grandfathered private health plans. As a result, changes will not take effect until the new plan year, and it is up to each individual woman to contact her insurance company to determine when these new benefits take effect.
The health care system will never be perfect, but today, it became a little fairer for women nationwide.
Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.