Written by Keely Monroe, Raising Women's Voices
Today is a day for millions of women like me to celebrate!
For the first time, our country is requiring all new health insurance plans to cover contraception – and do it without charging us co-pays and deductibles. It’s all because of the women’s preventive services provision of the new health care law (the Affordable Care Act).
This is a big deal for me as a young woman who uses birth control because it hasn’t been the right time for me to become a mom. As a young professional living in Washington, DC, where the cost of living is high, I have found that the monthly co-pays for my contraceptives take a real bite out of my budget.
I am relieved and thankful that starting today, the health care law is going to begin to change all that for me and for all those women struggling to find co-pay dollars for care we can’t do without!
This new requirement will apply to coverage for a wide range of contraceptive methods – including birth control pills, IUDs and even tubal ligations that are popular with women in their 30s and 40s. It also covers the contraceptive counseling visit with your doctor to figure out which is the best method for you.
When will this great new coverage requirement go into effect for you? It applies to all new health insurance plans beginning today, but will go into effect with the beginning of your new “plan year.” So, student health plans, which generally start with the new school year in late August or early September, are likely to be the first to include this benefit. Other new plans may not incorporate the change until January, which is typically the start of health plan coverage years.
What about existing health insurance plans? They will have to comply with this requirement as soon as they make enough routine policy changes to be considered “new” under the health care law. It’s estimated that could take until 2014 for some existing plans. Call your health insurer or your employer’s human resources office to find out what you will get this great new coverage.
So this is what’s in it for women: Affordable contraception, well woman visits, important screenings and counseling for intimate partner violence, counseling for sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV), breastfeeding equipment and counseling and diabetes screening when you’re pregnant.
So thanks, health care law, for helping me and millions of women to stay healthy!