U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today joined with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, other senators and health advocates to announce that women in Louisiana are now able to receive additional preventive health services without paying more at the doctor's office. These added services are part of the Affordable Care Act and become available for policies renewing on or after tomorrow, August 1.
"Nearly 600,000 women in Louisiana with private health insurance will now receive preventive health services without co-pays or deductibles because of the health reform law, and no governor or legislature can take that away. These preventive services help catch illnesses early and save lives. This will greatly benefit Louisiana, which leads the nation in cervical and breast cancer mortality rates. Now, whether they get coverage through their workplace, their husband's coverage or some over avenue, Louisiana women with private insurance will receive free breast and cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care and gestational diabetes screenings, among other preventive services. In addition, no longer can women be charged more than men for the same coverage," Sen. Landrieu said. "This expanded coverage for women is just one part of the health reform law, which is a beneficial partnership between private health insurance, the government, patients and their doctors, and our local and rural hospitals. These local hospitals currently bear the costs of uncompensated care, but as more and more people have health coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, these costs will dramatically decrease, allowing our hospitals to focus their resources squarely on providing quality patient care."
How Louisiana will be impacted:
Starting tomorrow, 592,117 Louisiana women with private insurance will become eligible to receive a range of preventive services, including breast and cervical cancer screenings, without a co-pay or deductible. Already, almost 290,000 Louisiana women on Medicare already receive free preventive services.
Cervical cancer: Louisiana has the second-highest rate of cervical cancer in the country, and is tied for first for the death rate. The five-year survival rate for cervical cancer is 93 percent for women who are diagnosed in the early stages. However, the survival rate is only 13 percent for women diagnosed in the later stages.
Breast Cancer: Although Louisiana has one of the lowest breast cancer rates in the country, it has the second-highest death rate. Too many women in Louisiana are simply not receiving the screenings they need to catch the disease early.
Additional women's preventive services that will be covered free of charge include:
Well-woman visits: This includes an annual preventive care visit for adult women to obtain the recommended preventive services, and additional visits if women and their health care providers determine they are necessary. These visits will help women and their health care providers determine what preventive services are appropriate, and set up a plan to help women get the care they need to be healthy.
Gestational diabetes screening: This screening is for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes. 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. In addition, the children of women with gestational diabetes are at significantly increased risk of being overweight and insulin-resistant throughout childhood.
Breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling: Pregnant and postpartum women will have access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling from trained providers, as well as breastfeeding equipment. Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive measures mothers can take to protect their health and that of their children. One of the barriers for breastfeeding is the cost of purchasing or renting breast pumps and nursing related supplies.
Interpersonal and domestic violence screening and counseling: Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence should be provided for all adolescent and adult women. An estimated 25 percent of women in the United States report being targets of intimate partner violence during their lifetimes. Screening and counseling can be effective to increase the safety of abused women.
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 Pap smear results. Early screening, detection and treatment have been shown to help reduce the prevalence of cervical cancer.
Photographs available for publication:
Sen. Landrieu speaks at a press conference highlighting that Louisiana women can now get coverage for even more preventive services without paying more at the doctor's office. The additional free services are part of the Affordable Care Act and become available tomorrow: http://landrieu.senate.gov/files/images/PHOTO_2012_07_31_healthpresser1.jpg
Sen. Landrieu walks to a press conference to announce that Louisiana women can now get coverage for even more preventive services without paying more at the doctor's office. The additional free services are part of the Affordable Care Act and become available tomorrow: http://landrieu.senate.gov/files/images/PHOTO_2012_07_31_healthpresser2.jpg