As the “care-coordinators-in-chief” for our families, women are often so busy taking care of loved ones that we forget to care for ourselves. That’s why, for National Women’s Health Week this year, we’re reminding women of some of the preventive services they can access – without cost sharing – thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These include:
Cervical cancer screening
Contraception and contraceptive counseling
Counseling for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Breast cancer screening
Interpersonal and domestic violence screening
Gestational diabetes screening during pregnancy
Breastfeeding support, services and equipment
Read more about each of these in our new fact sheet, available online here. (There are other preventive services that women can receive without cost sharing; for a full list, click here.)
Eliminating copayments, co-insurance and deductibles for preventive services increases access to care and improves women’s health. In addition to reducing cost barriers at the point of care, the ACA brought significant gains in health insurance coverage for women – an essential part of helping women access the care they need. Studies show that women with insurance are more likely to have a regular source of care and receive preventive services – see figure 1 below for findings from a 2017 Commonwealth Fund report.
Figure 1. Insured Women Are More Likely to Have a Regular Source of Care and Receive Preventive Services
Ultimately, because of the ACA’s provisions, approximately 62 million women now have access to preventive services without cost-sharing – services that help them get and stay healthy throughout their lives. The ACA has helped address coverage gaps for women of color, connecting many with preventive health care without cost sharing – an important step in dismantling pervasive, damaging health disparities.
Congress and the Trump administration should recognize the many ways the ACA’s preventive services benefit improves women’s health, and stop the relentless attempts to sabotage the greatest advance for women’s health in a generation.
Women are watching – this week and all year – and we expect our leaders to protect our ability to access affordable health care, not undermine it.