Health care changes for women as Affordable Care Act goes into e - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Health care changes for women as Affordable Care Act goes into effect

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

As of August 1, new health insurance plans must cover eight preventative health benefits to women for free under the Affordable Care Act.

Those services are annual well-woman visits, gestational diabetes screening for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, sexually transmitted infection counseling, HPV DNA testing, screening and counseling for HIV, domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling, contraception and contraceptive counseling, and breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling.

Some doctors and patients said it's a great idea.

"A perfect example is sexually transmitted infection screenings," said Dr. David Finke of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. "A lot of the time we can catch sexually transmitted infections before they turn into a major health problem."

Others, like gynecologist Dr. Eric Morton in Cape Girardeau said he doesn't think it's going to make that much of a difference financially for women.

He said women can already access a lot of the services for free through their local health clinics, or their insurance already covers them.

Morton said he thinks since patients won't pay in the form of co-pays, insurance companies will find a way to get that money through other ways, like higher premiums.

But Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said either way, it's good for women to have access to these services.

"Too often, we put our own health last," said Sebelius. "And that's especially true when it comes to preventive care. The regular checkups and screenings that are so important to staying health, but can be too easy to put off."

Not every woman will see the changes right away. Some might have to wait months until it's time to renew their insurance plan. Others might never see them if their plan is exempt and "grandfathered" in. Certain religious organizations such as churches and schools are exempt.

"To force women of religious views and values and certainly pro-life to subsidize, whether it's contraception or abortion inducing drugs, it's wrong on many levels," said Alice Stewart with Concerned Women for America.

To find where your coverage stands, the best idea is to call your provider.

Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance providers already had to cover some preventative benefits for women, like mammograms for women over 40, and screenings for cervical cancers.

They also provide services for men and children like screenings for cancer, high blood pressure, and cholesterol.

You can see more detail on those measures, and the new measures added here.

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