NEW BENEFITS FOR WOMEN
Affordable Care Act provisions that took effect last week mandate that insurance providers must cover a wide array of preventive health services aimed at women, without any co-payments charged to patients. An estimated 1.2 million women in Massachusetts will benefit from the new rules. Here are some of the biggest changes.
1. Contraception without co-pays. Insurance providers must cover all forms of female contraception including sterilization, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and oral contraceptives without any co-payments. “The intent is for all available methods to be covered,” said Dr. Paula Johnson, chief of the Division of Women’s Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. But health plans can decide which specific birth control pills, hormonal implants, and IUDs they plan to cover fully, so women may need to switch from their preferred method to get the cost savings.
2. Free breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling. “The major intent is to have breastfeeding supplies covered like breast pumps,” said Johnson, to help women maintain nursing even after they return to work.
3. Well-woman visits. Women won’t have any co-pays for annual visits to their primary care provider as well as their gynecologist. D.K.
migh wrote: Nothing is free in this world. [Whether through] higher insurance rates or the taxpayer, someone will pay.