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Affordable Care Act: 8 Free Preventive Health Services for Women go into Effect Today!

Today marks the start of 8 preventative health services for women that are now covered for FREE by insurance companies.

The eight new additional women’s preventive services that will be covered without cost-sharing requirements include:

  • Well-woman visits: This would include an annual well-woman 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.
  • 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.
  • HPV DNA testing: Women who are 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.
  • STI counseling: Sexually-active women will have access to annual counseling on sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These sessions have been shown to reduce risky behavior in patients.
  • HIV screening and counseling: Sexually-active women will have access to annual counseling on HIV. Women are at increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
  • Contraception and contraceptive counseling: Women will have access to all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling. Contraception has additional health benefits like reduced risk of cancer and protection against osteoporosis.
  • 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.
  • 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% of women in the United States report being targets of intimate partner violence during their lifetimes. Screening is effective in the early detection and effectiveness of interventions to increase the safety of abused women.

There is some fine print about these new free preventive health care plans, based on when your insurance policy is renewed – so go to healthcare.gov or the Womens Prevention Factsheet here: http://1.usa.gov/OJAvha

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