I agree with many on both sides of the aisle that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare – I like to call it the ACA) is not perfect. For much of the law, I am choosing to withhold judgment until it has been implemented and has some time to take effect. However, there are many important benefits to the law that are already helping many people around the country. As a woman in my mid-20s who relatively recently completed my education, I have several friends who now can continue to be covered on their parents’ plan instead of having to try to pay for an expensive individual plan or forgo insurance altogether. I am also excited for those people, particularly children, who now cannot be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. Another new and wonderful benefit of this law is that, as of August 1st this year, any new or renewed plan must cover certain preventive services for women. This includes:
- Annual well-woman visits with no cost-sharing (i.e. co-pay or deductible)* – this includes all appropriate testing, including pap smears and mammograms, and allows for more than one visit to get all of the testing done
- Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
- FDA approved contraceptives
- HIV screening and counseling
- STD counseling
- HPV DNA testing for women 30 and older
And relevant to pregnancy:
- Gestational diabetes screening; and
- Breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling.
This last item is most exciting to me right now (although I also find the coverage of annual well-woman visits extremely important) – this means that once my plan renews, my insurance company will cover 100% of the cost of a breast pump and visits with lactation consultants. (I actually called my insurance company to verify that this was the case.) Breastfeeding moms and babies around the country rejoice! The tricky part for me is that our plan renews on January 1st, and Tiny One is due on December 26th… Since this is my first child, odds are he or she won’t be born until or around January 1st anyway, but that leaves me with a conundrum if he or she arrives earlier. Luckily, the lactation consultants available in the hospital are already covered, so it’s mainly the breast pump that poses an issue, but as far as problems go, it is not a bad one to have! I will probably just end up waiting until Tiny One is born to see what happens.
For more information, check out Healthcare.gov And to get more information on your plan, I recommend calling the insurance company. They all have people whose job it is to help you answer these kinds of questions.
Are you excited about the coverage of preventive services for women?
*I am not sure if annual check-ups must be completely covered for men under the law… If not, I think they should be!