We talk quite a bit about the benefits of Obamacare- from the subsidies available to make it more affordable to no longer allowing insurance companies to deny someone coverage because of pre-existing conditions. However, as a female myself, I feel that one HUGE benefit of Obamacare is not mentioned enough, and that’s preventive care for women.

There is a long, long list (really, about 25 services) of free preventive care services that are available to women under the Affordable Care Act. I’m not going to discuss every single one, but I would like to highlight a few that I have found to be particularly helpful to myself as a lady. No worries, though, at the end of this article I’ll be sure to post the direct link to healthcare.gov so that you can see the exhaustive list.

These services must be delivered by an in-network provider in order to be free.3

Preventive Care for Women Who Are or May Become Pregnant

Healthcare.gov places these services into two different groups, one of which is for women who are or may become pregnant. It is within this category that I find one of my favorite free services for preventive care for women. Contraception that is FDA approved is required to be covered by insurance plans without a copay.1, 2 Certain religious employers are exempt from this requirement, but for the most part, the majority of women with a major medical plan can have their contraceptives covered for free. Pre-Affordable Care Act, I paid $30 a month for birth control that my doctor deemed medically necessary. This meant that over the course of the eight years I was prescribed it and required to pay a copayment, I spent nearly $3000 (this is the first time I calculated the amount, ouch!).

I, personally am childless, but I have many friends who are either mothers or mothers-to-be. These ladies are simply overjoyed with the fact that comprehensive breastfeeding support and counseling from trained providers, along with the access to breastfeeding supplies are also considered free preventive care for women.3 New health plans must also include maternity coverage.2

NOTE: Covered does not mean free, but it does mean that your insurance company will help you with the costs- that amount is determined by your specific plan.

Basic Preventive Care for Women

The other category of preventive care for women are services not related to pregnancy, but more so to overall health. The first I’d like to mention is breast cancer mammography screenings (mammograms) every 1 to 2 years for women over the age of 40.1, 3 Someone I know will actually be receiving her first one here in a few months and she is absolutely dreading it! However, I bet she’d be even more upset about it if she had to pay for it!

This next benefit does not require much explanation… screening and counseling for all women of domestic and interpersonal violence is covered at no charge.1, 3 This is an amazing benefit of Obamacare. The last thing someone in a situation of violence needs to worry about is how to pay for getting help.

Finally, cervical cancer screenings for sexually active women are considered free preventive care.1, 3 This happens to be another benefit that really resonates with me. I vividly remember the days of visiting my doctor for my awkward, once-a-year pap test. I would pay my $25 office visit copayment and then a few weeks later receive a bill for almost two hundred dollars for the lab work. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I now get to keep that two hundred dollars each year.

Not only can these free preventive services save you money, but they can save your life. There is no longer an excuse to put off that mammogram or pap test.

Many of the services are dependant on age, physician recommendations, and other factors- for more detailed information on qualification and a full list of the services available, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/preventive-care-women/

Citations

  1. Fairchild, C. (2013). 7 reasons why every American woman should love Obamacare. Retrieved
    February 11, 2016 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/17/obamacare-women_n_3541318.html
  2. Galewitz, P. (2013). 8 ways young women benefit from Obamacare. Retrieved February 10,
    2016 from http://khn.org/news/8-things-young-women-obamacare/
  3. Preventive care benefits for women. Retrieved February 10, 2016 from Healthcare.gov website https://www.healthcare.gov/preventive-care-women/