Most people know that the health reform law takes full effect in 2014. However, there are some parts of reform scheduled to go into effect long before then. As of today, all new health insurance plans must provide eight preventive health benefits to women… wait for it… for free!
Let’s go through the new benefits:
1. Well woman visits
An annual preventive care visit for adult women. In some cases, several visits may be necessary to obtain all recommended preventive services. This all depends on a woman’s health status and unique risk factors.
2. Screening for gestational diabetes
In case you have no idea what this is, gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that begins or is first diagnosed during pregnancy.
3. Human papillomavirus testing
The Centers for Disease Control has stated that 80 percent of sexually active women will have evidence of an HPV infection by age 50. Free testing could help reverse the future spread of HPV.
4. Counseling and screening for human immune-deficiency virus
HIV testing and counseling will be available free of charge, once a year.
5. Counseling for other sexually transmitted infections
All sexually active women will be eligible for free annual tests.
6. Contraceptive methods and counseling
This one has been the subject of much debate. Methods covered include all FDA approved contraception methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.
7. Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
Counseling is free both before giving birth and after. Costs for renting breastfeeding equipment included.
8. Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence
This, too, will be an annual coverage extension.
The fine print
The term “free” means that women with health insurance coverage can receive these added benefits with no additional co-pays or deductibles.
Not all insured women will automatically have access to the new preventive care. If a woman has a plan that existed before health reform was passed, her plan could be considered “grandfathered” and not currently eligible.