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The Affordable Care Act: Life-Altering for American Women

By EmpowHER October 1, 2013 - 2:02pm
Sponsored By Essure
Altering women with Affordable Care Act MonkeyBusiness Images/Photospin

By Jody Smith

The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and signed into law on March 23, 2010 by President Obama. In August 2012 the long-awaited time had arrived when birth control was to be made available to patients at no cost. The effects of the Act will prove to be far-reaching for both women and men across the country.

The advent of contraceptive pills in the 1960s was life altering. This new development from the Affordable Care Act should prove to be life changing as well, as women are now more fully able to make their own best decisions about birth control.

The Act covers more than contraceptives. Under the Act, all women are to have free coverage for FDA-approved contraception (some restrictions apply), permanent birth control, counseling and education. Preventative health services like cervical cancer screening, mammograms, and prenatal care are just a few of the provisions that will not require cost sharing for new health plans. Also covered by the Affordable Care Act is a visit once a year for every woman for some preventative services such as preconception and prenatal services.

Most health plans are to cover preventative services and eliminate cost sharing. And most health plans allow for free services without a co-pay or deductible being charged. Co-payment, co-insurance and deductibles would not be charged when services are supplied by a network provider.

An article from the National Women's Law Center's website reported on a study from the Women's Health Issues journal. The study indicated that it is all too common for women to have problems getting the birth control they need.

In 2010 the average woman with private insurance paid $10 monthly for generic birth control pills, $112 for an IUD, and $116 for an implant. Cost coverage varies among insurance plans, resulting in some women paying more for these same contraceptives. Pills could be as much as $17, an IUD could be $305 and an implant could cost as much at $308.

The study also showed that in 2007 women were paying 13.8 percent of the cost of an IUD for instance, but by 2010 that cost had risen to 17.5 percent. Fortunately the Affordable Care Act requires that insurers provide full coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptives.

According to the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) almost 99 percent of American women have used birth control at one time or another. More than 50 percent of women from 18 to 34 years of age have found it difficult at one time or another to pay for contraception. For many women, it is an ongoing struggle to be able to have access to the birth control they desire, and therefore to be able to make life decisions that work for them.

Reviewed on April 5, 2013

by Maryann Gromisch, RN


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