When a new provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), sometimes referred to as “Obamacare” kicked in Aug. 1, 2012, about 47 million American women became eligible to receive additional preventative health care services without a co-payment or any patient cost sharing.
The eight free services are offered to privately insured women or Medicare recipients enrolling in new health insurance plans or renewing existing policies on or after Aug. 1, 2012.
ACA states any new private health plans obtained in plan years starting on or after Aug. 1, must cover the law’s guidelines on women’s preventive services with no cost sharing.
One big change is women can visit their OB/GYN physician without a referral. Insurance companies can no longer require a woman to obtain prior approval before seeking obstetrical and gynecological care.
Here’s a breakdown of the new services courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
An annual well-woman preventative care visit for adult women to obtain the recommended preventive services, and any additional visits if women and their health care providers determine are necessary. These visits will help women and their health care providers determine what preventive services are appropriate, and set up an action plan to help women stay or get healthy.
HPV DNA Testing:
Women who are age 30 or older will have access to high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing every three years, regardless of their Pap smear results. Early screening, detection, and treatment have been shown to help reduce the prevalence of cervical cancer.
Gestational Diabetes Screening:
Women who are 24 to 28 weeks pregnant and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes now have free access to this screening. It will help improve the health of mothers and babies because women who have gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.