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By Ashley Mayo, Strategic Engagement Fellow at the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, being a woman just got easier. Today, a new provision of the law requiring insurers to provide women's preventive services without a copay takes effect. For a quick look at what this means, check out our new video, and share it with your friends!

Video: Being a woman just got easier!

Here's a list of the important health services which are available without copay starting today!

Well-woman visits- All adult women will have access to an annual preventive care visit focused on their specific needs. During these visits, a woman receives all appropriate preventive and medical services, and discusses with her doctor how best to get the care she needs to stay healthy.

Gestational Diabetes Testing- In some women, pregnancy hormones block insulin from doing its job, causing Gestational Diabetes, which can result in serious complications for both the baby and mother if left untreated. All women who are 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, as well as those at high risk for the complication, will have access to Gestational Diabetes testing, allowing for earlier treatment of the condition and better health outcomes.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Testing- HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that causes genital warts and cervical cancer. While the Pap Smear, a test given at annual well-woman visits, identifies the virus, women over age 30 will have access to the more advanced HPV DNA test every three years, even if their Pap results are normal. This kind of early detection and screening has been shown to reduce the prevalence of cervical cancer.

STI counseling and HIV testing and counseling- Sexually active women will now have access to annual counseling on HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These sessions help patients understand and take control of their own health, and have been shown to reduce risky behaviors.

Contraception and contraceptive counseling- Women will have access to all FDA approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling. (These recommendations do not include abortifacient drugs.) Contraception and family planning are essential preventive services for women, as they are critical to appropriate birth spacing and intended pregnancy, which result in improved maternal health and birth outcomes.

Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling- Pregnant and post-partum women will have access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling, as well as breastfeeding equipment. Breastfeeding has been shown to be an effective preventive measure which improves both maternal and infant health. However, in the past, the cost of nursing supplies and breast pumps has prevented many women from breastfeeding their children.

Domestic Violence Screening- All women will have access to screening and counseling for domestic and interpersonal violence.These screenings help detect abuse earlier, and improve women's safety and health.

It is estimated that more than 45 million American women, including 20 million with private insurance and 25 million with Medicaid, will benefit from these expanded coverages. Even women with grandfathered plans will gain access to these services as their plan years are renewed. Click here to learn more about when you'll be covered from the National Women's Law Center.

This is a historic day women's health! Tell your members of congress what this law means for you by clicking here, and spread the word to your friends and networks. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, America is one step closer to health and gender equity.

 

Also check out blogs from Colorado women and leaders on how no cost-sharing for women's preventive health services will help families:

Keep yourself and your baby healthy (screenings for gestational diabetes)

Access to contraception will help women overcome barriers

Screenings without cost-sharing for HPV screenings will help women's lives get better - and healthier

Women facing domestic violence will get the help they need now

HIV/STI screenings will help women get care that should not be overlooked

Mothers: Need help with Breastfeeding? The ACA will help with that!

Women will not go without well woman visits anymore


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