Victory for Women’s Health Courtesy of the Obama Administration

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Victory for Women’s Health

Thanks to the affordable care act, women can receive preventive care without additional costs

President Obama worked tirelessly to ensure Americans have access to quality and affordable health care and the Affordable Care Act achieved that goal.

  • One of the highlights of this legislation is its focus on preventive care, which helps stop health problems before they start. And on Monday, Health and Human Services announced new guidelines for women’s preventative care.
  • Before the Affordable Care Act, women were more vulnerable to high health care costs than men.
  • Since women require more regular contact with health care providers for preventative measures like yearly pap smears and mammograms, their out-of-pocket costs are higher.
  • And too often, the combination of women’s lower incomes and burdensome out-of-pocket health costs means that women forgo necessary preventive services.
    • Women have unique healthcare needs throughout their life and many can struggle with chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
    • Yet, while women are more likely to need preventive health care services, a recent national survey found that nearly half of women (44%) reported delaying or avoiding needed care because of cost, compared with 35% of men.
  • But thanks to these new preventative care guidelines, the cost sharing requirements are removed. This improves women’s access to important preventive services.
  • One study found that the rate of women getting a mammogram went up as much as 9 percent when cost sharing was removed.
  • The Affordable Care Act requires new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services including well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, counseling and screening for sexually transmitted infections and access to FDA contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.

Additional Stats:

  • Virtually all women (more than 99%) aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. [Guttmacher Institute, accessed 8/3/11]
  • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using a method. [Guttmacher Institute, accessed 8/3/11]
  • Almost one-third (31%) of these 62 million women do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had intercourse; or are not sexually active. [Guttmacher Institute, accessed 8/3/11]
  • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk for unintended pregnancy but are not using contraceptives. [Guttmacher Institute, accessed 8/3/11]