Starting August 1st*, Wisconsin women have much to celebrate as a new phase of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now offers additional preventive health care coverage without financial barriers. According to the National Women’s Law Center, just four years ago, before the new heath care law was passed, one in four women reported that they didn’t get needed health care because they felt they couldn’t afford it.. Following passage of the law –in the fall of 2010 – certain preventive health care services, like mammograms, blood pressure screenings and other important preventive services, became available to women, with no extra financial burden, like co-pays or deductibles. In Wisconsin, 413,000 women have already been receiving these services without out-of-pocket barriers. As we celebrate a new set of services available to women, we will be blogging today through, August 1st, highlighting each new preventive health service.
Intimate Partner Violence Screening and Support
Although anyone can be a victim, regardless of socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, intimate partner violence (IPV) disproportionately affects women as victims. It is estimated that more than one in three women will be affected by some form of IPV at some point in her lifetime – and many occurrences go unreported due to safety concerns the woman may have for herself or her children.
Additionally, IPV is preventable or can be detected early, before serious harm, if women are given the proper screening and support services in health care settings. This is especially important as the economic and societal impact of IPV – specifically rape, physical assault and stalking – is profound. An estimated $8.3 billion is spent, annually, for direct medical and mental health care services and lost productivity from paid, caregiving or household work. Notably, the victim also bares the potential cost of a decrease in quality of life, depression or other psychological health impairments.
We are pleased that, starting August 1st, new and renewing plans will cover screening and counseling for women and adolescents about current and past violence and abuse so that providers can address health concerns about safety and other health issues that may be associated with interpersonal and domestic violence. It is even more important that women will have access to this important screening and support service with no financial barriers, like co-pays. Our partners at the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault have additional resources on their websites.
So far, we have celebrated several of the ACA’s new set of benefits available to women, with no financial barriers, starting August 1st, including: yearly well-woman visits, HIV screening and counseling, breastfeeding support and supplies, and now intimate partner violence screening and support. Stay tuned tomorrow, when we celebrate another new benefit for women, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and counseling, including the human papillomavirus (HPV).
* If you have questions about when these new benefits go into effect for your own private plan, please call the member services number on the back of your insurance card, or contact your employer’s benefits administrator for information about your current coverage.