Free birth control is just one new insurance benefit that kicks in today for women, thanks to the Affordable Care Act — otherwise known as ObamaCare.
The benefit applies for women who are covered by insurance, and is a huge step forward, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who celebrated the changes on Capitol Hill yesterday, reports NPR.
Despite the fact that the law still faces legal challenges ahead, Sebelius spoke about the new benefits yesterday to more than half a dozen Democratic senators, explaining that before the law, most insurance plans either didn’t cover basic women’s health services, or they charged high deductibles or co-payments. Sebelius stated:
“So as a result…surveys showed that more than half the women in this country delayed or avoided preventive care because of its cost.”
But that will no longer be the case, with the new rules taking effect. Sebelius went on to say that, along with free birth control:
“All new insurance plans will be required to cover additional services and tests for women, with no out-of-pocket costs…including domestic violence screenings, FDA-approved contraception, breast-feeding counseling and supplies and a well-woman visit, where she can sit down and talk with her health care provider.”
The free contraceptive coverage will take effect when the woman’s health plan is renewed, or when they begin a new health insurance plan. There are some exceptions, so it is important to check with your health insurance company to see when you will be eligible, according to ABC Action News.
Along with free birth control, the law also requires seven more preventative services to be covered for free, including:
“…well-woman visits, Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases, Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling, FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling, Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling, HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older, Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually active women, and HIV screening and counseling for sexually active women.”
The Department of Health and Human Services reports that 47 million women who did not have accesses to these eight services in the pars will now be able to receive them for free.
Are you glad that the Affordable Care Act is bringing these services, like free birth control, to women who are paying for health insurance?