Starting today, about 47 million women will get access to several preventive services with no co-payments or added costs to the patient. As part of the new health care legislation, new rules now in effect require new or renewing insurance plans to cover contraceptives, as well as routine breast and pelvic exams, including pap tests. Other services include prenatal care, gestational diabetes screening, and breastfeeding supplies and consultation.
“Surveys showed that more than half the women in this country delayed or avoided preventive care because of its cost,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, speaking of the benefits of this legislation.
Jessica González-Rojas, from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, says these preventive services are of particular importance to Latinas.
“Many Latino health disparities stem from a lack of access to preventive services,” says González-Rojas. ”It is also important in that it covers the full spectrum of care throughout a woman’s life,” she adds.
González-Rojas says a recent incident in her own life illustrates the need for these new provisions.
“When I gave birth, I needed help with breastfeeding,” she recalls. “I had to spend two hundred and fifty dollars on a lactation consultant, since it was not included in my insurance,” González-Rojas adds.
“Considering how beneficial breastfeeding is for the baby’s and mother’s health, I am glad this is now covered under women’s preventive services,” she says.
Other provisions rolled out today under the Affordable Care Act include screening for HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and screening and counseling for domestic or interpersonal violence.