Women’s Health Month
As May comes to a close, we conclude the advocacy and awareness activities that have come along with National Women’s Health Month. A movement that began over 40 years ago, the women’s health movement has highlighted health issues that are unique to women. These efforts have brought great progress for women-decreasing deaths from cervical and breast cancer as well as healthier babies from improved prenatal care.
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has been slowly rolling out since 2010, presents a new step forward for women. The ACA is making it easier for women to help themselves with their personal healthcare. Furthermore, since women are statistically more likely than men to be the primary caregivers in the family, maintaining her personal health also benefits those whom she cares for.
The ACA will requires all private insurance plans to cover basic primary care services such as well- woman visits. These visits will include screening for breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, diabetes, depression, obesity, and domestic abuse. Many vaccines that apply to adult women will also be covered.
Chronic diseases related to health behaviors have taken a major toll on personal health and overall healthcare spending. Women will now have access to tobacco cessation programs, alcohol/drug counseling and nutritional counseling.
Prior to the ACA, it was not uncommon for health insurance plans to not cover maternity care. Under the law, all insurance plans must now cover prenatal care and breastfeeding supports. Screenings for Sexually Transmitted Infections will also be covered by all insurance plans.
One of the provisions in the law that has gained a lot of attention in the past few years is the provision that insurance companies cover all FDA approved contraception. According to the Guttmacher institute, there are over 32 clinical conditions where a woman needs to be treated with contraceptive technologies and/or devices. Conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, menstrual migraines and endometriosis are treated with hormonal contraceptives. Furthermore, for women with health conditions such as blood clotting disorders, access to contraceptive devices like the Intrauterine Device (IUD) can be lifesaving.
Since our inception in 1973, Lebanon Family Health Services has been serving the health needs of women in Lebanon County. As we proceed forward into a new era in healthcare, LFHS accepts major insurances and offers care on a sliding scale fee to those who are uninsured. For more information, call us at 273-6741, visit our web site at www.lebanonfamilyhealth.org and follow us on Facebook.