by Desiree Hoffman
YWCA USA Advocacy and Policy Director
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 47 million women across the U.S. will now be able to receive the preventative care they need without a co-pay or deductible. For too long, women have often made the difficult choice of not attending to basic health care needs because they can’t afford it.
Now, women will be able to access the health care they need, and will in turn lower costs for everyone because preventative care saves money in the long run. For years, preventative services such as blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests have been covered without a co-pay, however, starting in August 2012, there are eight new covered services specifically geared towards improving health outcomes for women. They include:
- Well-woman visits;
- Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases;
- Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling;
- FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling;
- Breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling;
- HPV DNA testing for women 30 or older;
- Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women; and
- HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.
All of these services are life-saving and cost cutting for women at all stages in life. The YWCA is excited about what this means for every woman.
The YWCA supports the implementation of the ACA and will continue to oppose efforts to repeal it. These guidelines make meaningful steps to ensure that health care is affordable and accessible to women and families across the country. These measures also reinforce that women, not insurance companies, can now make health decisions that will keep them healthy, catch potentially serious conditions at an earlier state, and protect them and their families from crushing medical bills.
As the largest provider of battered women shelters, the YWCA is pleased to see the interpersonal and domestic violence screening and counseling services included in the new health care plan. The YWCA understands how important these screenings are in providing care to women impacted by violence. These screenings will help identify at-risk women as well as provide interventions to increase their safety. Through this coverage and in partnership with local YWCAs, this is a tremendous opportunity for us to reach thousands more women and children not currently being helped, including women and children of color. It is estimated that 5.1 million black women and 4.0 million Latina women will now receive preventative health care without cost-sharing for the first time.
Implementation of the ACA is a critical moment for all women. These services are vital to the lives and well-being of women and now they are finally included in women’s health care. Although there is still work to be done in regards to the well-being of women in the U.S, these new benefits offered under the ACA are definitely steps in the right direction.
Learn more about key features of the Affordable Care Act and how it benefits women.