Starting with Mother's Day, May 13, we are observing National Women's Health Week; the theme this year is "It's Your Time." We can all celebrate the women in our lives during National Women's Health Week by encouraging them to make the time to address their own health. Healthy, strong women are essential to having healthy strong children and communities, but too often women place the needs of others before their own needs.
Because of the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, being a woman will no longer be considered a pre-existing condition. Women with non-grandfathered health coverage or Medicare can now obtain preventive care, such as well-women visits, mammograms, pap smears, and cancer screenings without co-pays or other cost-sharing. National Women's Checkup Day, May 14, serves as a reminder that women should schedule a visit with their doctor to discuss which screening tests they need. Regular checkups and appropriate screenings can help detect diseases early, when treatment is most effective.
Also in recognition of Mother's Day, we want to let mothers-to-be know about Strong Start, the department's initiative to safely reduce the rate of early elective deliveries and reduce preterm births among women covered by Medicaid by supporting innovative ways that providers and states use enhanced prenatal care. No child should have to deal with a lifetime of health problems because mothers did not have access to the right health care.
Celebrate National Women's Health Week and encourage the women in our lives to make their health a priority.
To learn more about National Women's Health Week and to find a National Women's Health Week event in your community, visit www.womenshealth.gov/whw.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act and what it means for women, visit www.healthcare.gov.
To see The State of Women's Health Video Townhall with Secretary Sebelius, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/blog/2012/01/video_townhall.html.
To see Women's Health Living Room Discussions with Secretary Sebelius, visit http://www.healthcare.gov/videos/2012/03/womens-health-baltimore-discussions.html.
To learn more about the Strong Start initiative, visit http://www.innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/strong-start/.