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New Birth Control Benefits Start Aug. 1; GOP Leaders Still Fight Women's Health Care
Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York celebrates Aug. 1 start of no co-pay birth control under Affordable Care Act; 3.1 million women in New York State will benefit
Women’s health issues ARE economic issues and directly affect the nation’s economy—but politicians do not get it
In the House, one in seven days spent attacking women’s health care
(July 31, 2012 ALBANY, NY) “Economic issues are at the forefront of people’s minds throughout this nation, and the Affordable Care Act has directly resulted in economic relief for millions of women and their families,” said Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York President and CEO M. Tracey Brooks. “So why is it that the GOP leadership in Washington, DC, politicians in other states and presidential candidate Mitt Romney strive to dismantle access to essential women’s health care, particularly during these tough economic times?”
Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed, 45 million women nationally have already received insurance coverage for preventive health screenings – including mammograms and Pap tests – at no cost, and have had direct access to OB/GYN providers without first needing a referral. The new law also ended discriminatory practices, such as charging women higher premiums and denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, including pregnancy. Further, 3.1 million young adults have been able to stay on their parents’ insurance because of the ACA. In the next year, millions more who would have otherwise lost coverage will continue to be insured under their parents’ plan.
Rolling effective dates for birth control coverage without cost sharing start Aug. 1, depending on when new plan years begin. This will have a significant economic effect on women and families with private insurance since the annual cost of birth control is the equivalent of five weeks of groceries for a family of four, nine tanks of gas in a minivan, or one semester of college textbooks.
“If the nation’s fiscal health is a priority of the GOP leadership, as they contend, why would they continue cutting proven family planning funding and block access to care?” Brooks questioned. “For every one dollar spent on family planning, nearly $4 is saved in Medicaid insurance and private insurance spending. Women’s health issues ARE economic issues and directly affect the nation’s economy, but these politicians clearly don’t get it.”
Congress attacks women’s health twice in as many weeks; one in seven session days spent attacking women’s health care
Even as the Affordable Care Act continues to increase health care access and affordability for millions, the Republican leadership in Congress continues its concerted efforts to cut services and access for women. In fact, Congress attacked women’s health care during one out of every seven days that the 112th Congress has been in session.
In mid-July, the GOP-led House voted again to repeal the Affordable Care Act and introduced a spending proposal that would bar Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving federal funding for providing health care services; defund the Title X family planning program that provides birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing for sexually-transmitted infections for low-income women; and keep most of the Affordable Care Act from being implemented.
On the state level, politicians in states like Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and Arizona, have implemented Congress’ anti-women’s health playbook to effectively cut access to birth control, cancer screenings and other basic preventive health care.
“Attacks like these on women’s health are a preview of Mitt Romney’s plan for women’s health across America,” cautioned Brooks. “For someone who says he is a smart businessman, it is fiscally irresponsible to curb, cut or eliminate access to family planning and reproductive health care services.”
Aug. 1 brings new benefits
“This week, women and families across New York and the nation have cause to celebrate as another phase of the Affordable Care Act takes effect,” said Brooks. “New private insurance plans are now required to cover birth control, cancer screenings, well-woman visits, counseling for sexually transmitted infections, breastfeeding support and supplies, and domestic violence counseling with no out-of-pocket cost to the consumer beyond the health insurance premium. It's estimated that nearly 3.1 million women in New York State alone will have insurance coverage”
The roll out of these important benefits begins on Aug. 1 for some people with private health insurance. However, more consumers will start getting the benefit next year. The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to provide the benefits for new plans beginning on “plan years” that start after Aug. 1. Insurance companies have different plan years. Some start Aug. 1; most start Jan. 1, and some start June 1, she explained.
Brooks pointed out that some health insurance companies have chosen to implement the new benefits for all their plans immediately. “Clearly, they recognize the life-saving and cost-saving benefit of preventive health care, a primary objective for President Obama in reforming health care.”
Women should call their insurance companies to determine if their plan is impacted by these changes and, if so, when the benefits become effective for them and what limits, if any, there may be. She noted that the law allows insurance plans to limit birth control coverage with no co-pays to generics.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of New York is a non-partisan, non-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of the Planned Parenthoods of New York State. Learn more at www.ppany.org and www.womenarewatching.org.