Healthcare.gov provides a list of about 26 services that are free to women under the Affordable Care Act. Yes, you read it right – under Obamacare, there are 26 preventive services that women can have done for free as long as they are delivered by an in-network provider. I can’t possibly discuss every single one here, but I feel that there are a few that are definitely worth mentioning.
These services are broken into two broad categories on hc.gov – services for women who are or who may become pregnant and other preventive services. First, we’ll touch on some of the more general benefits available for all women.
General Preventive Services for All Women
Some general preventive services that are covered for women include multiple cancer screenings, including mammograms for breast cancer for women over 40 and cervical cancer screenings for sexually active women. These screenings are always highly unpleasant, so removing the financial burden makes them a little easier to deal with, in my opinion.
Other services include tobacco use screening and interventions, osteoporosis screening depending on age and risk factors, and domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling for all women. The list goes on, so I highly recommend visiting healthcare.gov for full explanations of services offered.
ACA Benefits for Women Who Are or May Become Pregnant
First, the ACA requires that FDA approved contraception must be covered by health insurance plans without requiring a copayment. This is personally one of my favorite benefits, because my birth control prescription that my doctor considers to be medically necessary, once cost me $30 a month. I know several ladies who have saved a substantial amount of money thanks to this free preventive services.
I also know several ladies who thrilled that breastfeeding support and counseling from trained providers and access to breastfeeding supplies are free preventive services for women. Also for those who are or who will become pregnant, new health plans must also include maternity coverage. Although not all maternity services will be free, health plans will at least help cover costs associated with pregnancy. A big Obamacare WIN!
Multiple other services are available at no charge, including folic acid supplements for women who may become pregnant, expanded tobacco counseling and intervention for pregnant women who are tobacco users. Again, the complete list, along with more detailed information, is available at healthcare.gov.
If you are a woman reading this article and have an ACA-compliant health plan, I suggest having a discussion with your doctor to take advantage of the appropriate services that are available to you. If you are a man reading this, please pass this information along to all the women in your life. These are benefits that all women should be taking advantage of!