Affordable Care Act looks to prevent chronic diseases in women

March 12, 2013 in health care costs, Health Insurance, Medical Care, Women's care

Like many people in the United States, I’m aware that the Affordable Care Act was signed into law by President Obama and that it aims to make sure that everyone has healthcare; however, until now I hadn’t taken the time to ask how it affects women like me. A quick glance at the services provided under the umbrella of the Affordable Care Act shows that there are a handful of preventive services that I never knew I should consider, let alone take advantage of.

photo credit (qualityquest.org)

One of the major elements of the act is encouraging women to visit their doctor in regards to preventive care services since, according to HealthCare.gov, chronic diseases that are often preventable are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75% of the nation’s health spending. If the preventive services cut down on the percentage of people with chronic diseases, then the nation’s spending spent on health will presumably go down.

Some of the services offered to women are screenings for anemia, cervical cancer, gestational diabetes, gonorrhea, Hepatitis B, and osteoporosis. Additionally, in August 2011 the Affordable Care Act introduced eight new preventive care services for women including well-woman visits, gestational diabetes screenings, HPV DNA testing, STI counseling, HIV screenings and counseling, contraception and contraceptive counseling, breastfeeding support, and interpersonal and domestic violence screenings and counseling.

According to the website, “if you have a new health insurance plan or insurance policy beginning on or after September 23, 2010,” then the preventive services “must be covered without you having to pay a copayment or co-insurance,” as long as the service is delivered by a network provider.

With a total of 22 preventive services offered to specifically women, not including the other 15 preventive tests that are offered to men and women, the amount of tests can potentially be overwhelming. However, the well-woman visit, arguably the most useful and time saving preventive service, helps women design a personalized health plan based off of recommended preventive services made by their doctors. This visit can help both doctors and patients narrow down which tests are necessary and will actually benefit each woman.

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