Affordable Care Act extended medical coverage for women this week
This week, more than 47 million women in the United States gained access to additional preventative health care options under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Department of Health and Human Services states that provisions effective as of August 1 include no-cost HPV testing, HIV screening, breastfeeding support, and preventative services for gestational diabetes.
Senator Robert Menendez says the expanded coverage — which exists without co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance requirements — is proof the ACA is making a positive impact in the lives of Hispanics, a demographic disproportionately affected by cervical cancer, gestational diabetes and HIV.
“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, millions of Hispanic women now have access to more free preventive health care services unique to their needs, including well-visits, vaccinations, and education, leading to prevention, early detection and thus, lower health care costs and better overall health,” he said in a statement.
The expansion of the women’s health programs is important, says Jessica González-Rojas, from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, because many Latino health disparities “stem from a lack of access to preventative services.”
González-Rojas adds she has personally experienced reasons why the ACA expansion is beneficial. “When I gave birth, I needed help with breastfeeding,” she explained. “I had to spend two hundred and fifty dollars on a lactation consultant, since it was not included in my insurance. 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.”
In addition to the above screening programs, Healthcare.gov states a total of eight expansions are now available in women’s healthcare, including:
- Annual wellness visits
- Sexually transmitted infection counseling
- Access to contraceptives and contraceptive counseling
- Interpersonal and domestic violence screenings and counseling