Part of the 2010 healthcare reform law took affect on Wednesday, August 1st and requires that policies provided by private health insurance companies pay for a list of women’s health preventative services. These services include birth control pills, Pap smears and mammograms. The new policy also gives women the right to free breast-feeding support, supplies for pregnancy-related diabetes, (gestational diabetes), and screening for domestic violence. It is not known how many women will take advantage of these services. However, the US Health and Human Services Department estimates that forty-seven million women, ages fifteen through sixty-four, have private health insurance plans that will be affected.
For some women, this will not be a change as some private insurance plans are already paying for these services. Other women will have to wait to receive these services as the law applies to new policies only. Women with existing coverage may have to wait for their policies to renew for the requirements to kick in. This could take months for many women.
There are exceptions to the law as purely religious employers don’t have to provide certain services such as birth control to employees if they object. Such groups include Catholic churches and universities. They received a special accommodation forcing the insurance companies themselves to pay for the coverage.
For information about your particular insurance policy and to find out if you are affected by the healthcare reform law, contact your health insurance provider. If you have not received your annual Pap smear and/or breast examination, schedule an appointment with your Gynecologist today.