Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a number of preventive care health services are now available for women without cost sharing--in other words, without co-payments, co-insurance, and deductibles. Beginning August 1, 2012, millions of women have access to important preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs.
Among the preventive services covered include: (from healthcare.gov)
- Cervical Cancer: Screening for sexually active women.
- HPV DNA testing: Women who are 30 or older 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 have access to annual counseling on sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These sessions have been shown to reduce risky behavior in patients, yet only 28 percent of women aged 18-44 years reported that they had discussed STIs with a doctor or nurse.
- HIV screening and counseling: Sexually active women have access to annual counseling on HIV. Women are at increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. 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.
- Chlamydia: Screening for younger women and other women at higher risk. CDC recommends yearly chlamydia testing of all sexually active women age 25 or younger, as well as older women with risk factors for chlamydial infections (those who have a new sex partner or multiple sex partners).
- Gonorrhea: Screening for all women at higher risk.
- Hepatitis B: Screening for pregnant women at their first prenatal visit.
- Contraception and contraceptive counseling: Women with reproductive capacity have access to all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling, as prescribed by a healthcare provider. These recommendations do not include abortifacient drugs. Contraception has additional health benefits like reduced risk of cancer and improving the health of mothers-to-be.
- Interpersonal and domestic violence screening and counseling: Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence will be covered for all adolescent and adult women. An estimated 25% of women in the United States report being targets of intimate partner violence during their lifetimes. Screening is effective in the early detection and effectiveness of interventions to increase the safety of abused women.
Learn more about women's preventive health services in this discussion between HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Annic Jobin, WebMD's Director of News and Partnerships. You can also learn more at www.healthcare.gov.