Big news in women’s health yesterday. You know that health care reform we have all been hearing about incessantly? Well, a new piece of legislation just came forth and it is sending shock waves throughout women’s health.
The federal government has made it so medical providers cannot charge co-pays when a patient is coming in for any type of preventative women’s health issues such as pap smears, pelvic exams, breast feeding consultations, STI (sexually transmitted infection, etc. But the biggest inclusion in this bill is that birth control is now covered under that. If a patient wants to get birth control, they will not get charge a co-pay. Every woman who has had to pay extra to get their birth control prescription is cheering throughout the country.
While some women might run tomorrow to make an appointment with their gynecologist, don’t get too excited. It does not apply to everyone quite yet. If you got your health plan before March 23, 2010 then it does not apply to your plan. Most of these plans happen to be those you would get from your work, but thankfully those plans generally have some sort of preventative women’s health coverage.
By August next year, new health insurance plans will have this coverage in place, and by 2013 it will be required by all insurance plans.
Why is this such a big deal? Many of the high health insurance costs are from things that could have been prevented. And women especially neglect their health in favor of caring for those around them, so it is important that women have access to the medical care that they need.
The neglect of women’s health is a serious issue. Many people (women AND men) will not go to the doctor because of the high health care costs, especially for preventative medicine. They will wait until they are on death’s door, not to prevent something that may or may not happen. Especially those who find it hard to even afford low income health insurance. This will allow them to afford the health care they need, which will ultimately cut down on health care costs overall.
The only downside is that health care premiums as a whole may have a slight increase, but it is too soon to tell how much of an increase that will be.
While we are talking about women’s health, here are a few tips to keep you (or your wife/lady friend) healthy.
- Get an annual health exam, especially a pap smear and mammogram (when you are old enough). Annual means yearly, so set a time and go every year. Many medical problems will only be blips in your medical history if they are caught early, but left unattended they can become serious problems. And now you do not have a co-pay, so you have no excuse.
- Take care of your sexual health. While this topic can get sticky, if you are sexually active, visit your doctor for the right contraceptives and tests to keep you and your partners healthy.