Today, Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) announced that, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, starting August 1, all new health care plans will be required at the start of their plan year to provide free coverage of key women's preventive services.
"August 1st is an important day for women across our nation," said Rep. Baca. "Up until now, many health insurance policies didn't cover basic women's preventive care. Others charged such high co-payments for key preventive services that women went without them altogether. Studies have shown that more than half of women have delayed or avoided preventive care because of its cost. Now, because of the Affordable Care Act, women in new plans will have coverage of key preventive services, with no co-pays."
"According to estimates, approximately 47 million women across the country, including over 5.3 million women in California, will have coverage of key women's preventive services without cost-sharing under these new provisions," added Rep. Baca.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, new health plans have already been required to provide free coverage of a package of certain key preventive services, including such services as colonoscopies, mammograms, and flu shots. Now, beginning today, all new insurance plans will be required to cover additional services and screenings for women with no out-of-pocket charges. These services are essential to helping women stay healthy and include domestic violence screening, breastfeeding support and supplies, gestational diabetes screening, HPV testing, sexually transmitted infection counseling, HIV screening, and well-woman visits.
Soon, there will also be additional improvements for women under the Affordable Care Act. In the past, insurers could deny women coverage because of anything from being a breast cancer survivor to being pregnant. Insurers could also charge women up to 50 percent more than men for the same coverage. But under the health care law, beginning in 2014, it will be illegal to deny coverage to someone due to a pre-existing condition. It will also be illegal to charge women more than men just because they're women.
"The Affordable Care Act is making a real difference in women's lives," concluded Rep. Baca. "Thanks to the provisions taking effect tomorrow, women will no longer have to put off prevention. And soon, when discrimination against women in the insurance market is fully banned, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing condition."