My Colonoscopy and More!
As a woman and as the mom of two young women, I, for one, will be the first to say thank you to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I’m all about preventive health, and I believe we should all take responsibility for doing whatever we can to be healthy. I eat a healthy diet and I’ve made sure that my family does as well. My husband has high cholesteral, even though he’s a runner and, since marrying me, eats a balanced, heart-healthy diet. His father had a couple of heart attacks at an early age, and later had by-pass surgery. Having seen that, we both have been careful about what we eat and we have both been runners for 30 years.
We try to get our screenings and check-ups to stay healthly. But I’ll be honest. If I had had to pay for part or all of my colonoscopy, I would have put it off. But, thanks to the ACA, I was able to get my screening, have some polyps removed and not have to be burdened with a huge medical bill.
Today, women received access to more free preventive health services through the ACA. The coverage will be provided for insured women enrolling in new health care plans or renewing existing policies on or after Aug. 1. While these services are for women, many of them affect children as well. Healthy moms mean healthy children.
The Department of Health and Human Services provided the following information about the services that are available to women. Under the new provision these women can have these services without paying a copay or other cost:
- Well-woman visits: This includes an annual well-woman preventive care visit for adult women to obtain the recommended preventive services, plus additional visits if women and their doctors determine they’re necessary.
- Gestational diabetes screening: This screening is for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes. Women who have gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the future, and their children are at a significantly increased risk of being overweight and insulin-resistant throughout childhood.
- HPV DNA testing: Women who are 30 or older will now 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 may receive annual counseling on sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The sessions have been shown to reduce risky behavior in patients, but only 28% of women aged 18 to 44 discuss STIs with a doctor or nurse.
- HIV screening and counseling: Sexually active women can receive annual counseling on HIV. Women are at increased risk of becoming infected with HIV: from 1999 to 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 15% increase in AIDS cases among women, and a 1% increase among men.
- Contraception and contraceptive counseling: Women will have free access to all government-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures and patient education and counseling. This does not include abortion drugs. Most workers in employer-sponsored plans are currently covered for contraceptives; however, employers with religious affiliations will not be required to pay for birth control. Rather, insurance companies providing health plans to such employers will cover the cost.
- Breast-feeding support, supplies and counseling: Pregnant and postpartum women now have access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling from trained providers, as well as breastfeeding equipment.
- Interpersonal and domestic violence screening and counseling: Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence is provided free for all adolescent and adult women. An estimated 25% of women in the U.S. report being targets of intimate partner violence during their lifetimes.
These services are in addition to the existing preventive care that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) makes available free to those with private health insurance and Medicare, including annual wellness visits, cholesterol screening, other cardiovascular screenings and cancer screenings, including mammograms, colonoscopy and cervical cancer tests. For more information, go to http://www.healthcare.gov