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The Super 8.  Many people are in vacation mindsets right now, so the words "Super 8" may spark images of motels on summer vacation stops. But I'm not talking about a Super 8 motel on a family road trip to the Grand Canyon. 

Nope. I'm talking about the new Super 8: The 8 new free women's preventative health services that started on August 1st of this year. Services like access to free well-woman visits, free screening for gestational diabetes, free birth control, free breastfeeding support, free domestic violence counseling, and more. 

That's the Super 8 everyone's talking about over coffee, on the news, on social media, and more.  So, what's the lowdown on these services, how can you (and yours) get access, and what's next?

During this show, we unpack what's in these new services, how can you (and yours) can get access, and what's next in healthcare policy.  Joining us in that lively conversation are doctors, experts, and policy makers.  Special guests include: 

  • Lisa James, Futures without Violence;
  • Cindy Pellegrini, March of Dimes;
  • Dr. William Jordan, National Physicians Alliance;
  • Nita Chaudhary, UltraViolet;
  • J. Nadine Gracia, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services.

“Super 8” Show Highlights:

 

=== Lisa James is the Director of Health, Futures Without Violence

On access to domestic violence counseling: (At 2:10 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

"The Affordable Care Act is ensuring that health plans will now cover annual screening and brief counseling for our exposure to domestic and interpersonal violence, so including sexual violence as well.  And what that means for your listeners is that health care providers will be much better positioned to ask about abuse, to identify more patients in their setting who’ve been experiencing domestic or interpersonal violence, and then be able to offer them support, harm-reduction strategies, and referrals to community agencies to get more additional help.”

On the impacts domestic violence has on long-term women’s health:(At  5:12 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

“Unfortunately the CDC just did a large national study and they found that about 1 in 4 women have experienced severe domestic violence or physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime… We know from actually decades of research, again in addition to the injuries related to domestic and sexual violence, that it leads to a whole host of long-term health problems including chronic pain.  That could be a headache or chronic back pain, including unplanned pregnancies and other STIs, sexually transmitted infections, including a whole host of mental health issues, such as depression and risk for suicide, as well as putting you at risk for substance abuse and actually the CDC study that I mentioned, also found that exposure to violence at some point in your life, also puts you at higher risk for issues such as asthma and even diabetes.”

Cindy Pellegrini is the Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs,  March of Dimes

On why preventative prenatal health care is important: (At 17:27 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

 “It really all boils down to one idea, which is that healthy women are more likely to have healthy babies.  Prenatal care is a series of visits that you’ll have with your obstetrician/gynecologist or your midwife, or whichever other health-care provider you’re working with through your pregnancy… They’ll check that the baby is growing appropriately and moving around the way it’s supposed to.  They will keep track of all kinds of things and then also counsel you about things like if you smoke and you’d like to quit smoking, how can you do that, how can you eat well during pregnancy?”

“There are also screenings for the woman herself like the one I mentioned about blood pressure, about nutrition, etc.  And then once the baby is born, within the first 24 hours, the baby receives a set of really important newborn screening tests.”

“We’re all looking forward to 2014 when the so-called exchanges, the health insurance marketplaces will come online, which should go a long way toward helping people better understand what their insurance options are.”

Dr. William Jordan with National Physicians Alliance

On how to access free well-check provisions: (At 24:47 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

 “The great thing about the new provisions that just came online from the Affordable Care Act is that you can access them when you need them.  For women over 65 who are enrolled in Medicare, they’ve already had access for a while to well checks once a year.  But for the average woman, they have access when they need to for a variety of different preventative services.”

On how these preventative services are already helping people: (At 26:05 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

“Definitely.  I mean, a typical example of a preventative service that’s covered under the Affordable Care Act now is that women can come in for family planning whenever they need to.  So a visit to go in and see your doctor just to talk about family planning options.  A women has the choice to decide when and whether she wants to have children, she can come in and have the discussion with her doctor covered by her insurance without any co-pay or deductible.  And then if she decides to use some form of contraception, that’s completely covered without any co-pay or deductible.”

On what types of other services are coming into effect that people should be on the lookout for: (At 30:34 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

“Well this is really great because, you know, one of the things that we know for sure from the medical literature and from a long history is that breastfeeding is the best thing for infants and young children.  It, you know, helps prevent infections, decreases the risk of obesity for the kids later on.  It also helps moms with weight loss, lowers the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer for moms.  And the new provisions in the Affordable Care Act - the things that they provide, they provide a couple of services without any co-pays or deductibles that are really important for helping moms to breastfeed.  One of them is providing support through lactation counseling and so, that’s a great service that really helps a lot of moms, especially if they’re first time breastfeeding and they need additional support.  And the other piece of it is providing breast pumps without any co-pay or deductible.  And that is so important especially for women who need to go back to work to be able to have that option to keep providing breast milk for their children.”

On Dr. Jordan’s favorite most favorite provision of the Super 8: (At 32:20 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

“I would say in terms of the millions of women that are affected, in our daily lives, I would have to say the coverage of contraception and family planning for women is probably the most important as far as I’m concerned.”

Nita Chaudhary is the Co-Founder of UltraViolet

On birth control without co-pay? (At 36:20 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

 “Oh goodness, people are super excited about this.  I mean, you know, 47 million women stand to benefit from this, and another fun fact that most people I come across don’t seem to know, is that 1 in 3 women can’t afford birth control.  So this is a huge, huge deal.”

“We hear from people all the time about the right to control your body and control when you have kids, especially in this economy when people are struggling to find work and lots of people are working multiple jobs to make ends meet.  And frankly, a lot of young women are going to school and they can’t afford to have a kid right now.  It would bankrupt their family and it would have all kind of disastrous effects and that’s another reason that birth control is so important.”

On the significance of this provision for women: (At 40:47 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

 “It’s hugely significant and it’s gonna be even more by 2014 by the time the rest of the health care law is implemented.  I mean, you know, we’re gonna see a lot healthier women.  We’re gonna be able to decrease the amount of women who end up with ovarian cancer.  Women are gonna be in better control of their financial security, their economic security.  And you know, insurance companies are also gonna save some money because it’s way cheaper to cover birth control than it is to cover the complications that arise from let’s say, endometriosis, from somebody who can’t afford to take birth control.”

Dr. J Nadine Gracia is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health

On how these preventative services are going to significantly help minority women and women of color: (At 48:30 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

 “Absolutely.  Minority women, women of color, are less likely to get the preventive care that they need to stay healthy and many of the reasons that happens is because there’s a lack of health insurance, there’s a lack of access to a healthcare provider or that they receive a poorer quality of care.  But another important reason can be the cost of those preventive services.  When you talk about deductibles and co-payments, that can be a barrier.  And so when these women are faced with the choice, sometimes between paying for a preventive service versus paying for groceries or other bills, they have to take chances with their health.  And so this is really important when we talk about women of color now being able to access these services at no cost and really being able to put their health first.”

On parts of the new healthcare law that address language and cultural barriers that might be holding somebody back from getting the health care services that they need:(At 54:29 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

“Well you acknowledge a really important point; that providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services - when we talk about health care deliveries, it’s really important for quality of care and certainly when we look at populations that are limited English proficient and just a diversity of the U.S. population having a culturally competent workforce, as well as delivering that care, is very important and the Affordable Care Act does indeed address cultural competency of the workforce and delivering culturally competent care.”

On people who’ve already been helped by the provisions:(At 55:25 on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/moms-rising-radio/id533519537)

“Certainly, there’s the provisions with regards to being able to keep children on their - the parents to keep their children on their insurance until the age of 26, have benefited millions of Americans across the country.  That provision, in and of itself, has already benefited more than 3.1 million young adults, to be able to stay on their parent’s health insurance until they’re 26 years old.”

“So what we are doing - we are saying absolutely that, is that by putting you know, health first and prevention and wellness first and providing better access to care, making that health care more affordable, that Americans will be able to actually control and have - take charge of their own health and healthcare and have access to the services that they need to stay healthy and that when they do get sick, that they’ll also receive high quality of care.”

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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