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.
Healthier Moms and Babies, Gestational Diabetes Screenings
You might hear people call the new health care law different things: the Affordable Care Act, or more simply the ACA, or maybe even ObamaCare. But if you read our Mother’s Day blog, we refer to the new protections and benefits the new law gives to new, expectant and future moms, we call it MamaCare.
MamaCare gives pregnant women a very important new benefit. Starting August 1st, insurance plans will now be required to cover gestational diabetes screenings, with no co-pays or other additional costs. This is great news, as early detection and treatment of gestational diabetes can promote healthier pregnancies and better birth outcomes than if left undetected or untreated.
Women who are pregnant are at risk of developing gestational diabetes usually around or after the 24th week of pregnancy, and need more frequent check-ups and oftentimes need diet adjustments. Additionally, expectant moms who have gestational diabetes are more likely to develop other forms of diabetes after pregnancy. This also makes it important for women to have the necessary treatment and information to reduce their risk of developing other forms of diabetes later on, like exercise and diet.
Undiagnosed or untreated gestational diabetes poses a risk to the unborn baby as well. For example, because gestational diabetes produces excess glucose that can get passed from the mom’s placenta to the growing baby, the baby’s pancreas produces more insulin, which can be stored as fat – increasing the risk the baby will be born overweight – which also increases the mom’s risk of having to have a C-section. Treating gestational diabetes appropriately can help decrease these risks.
Further, babies born to mom’s who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at an increased risk of being obese later in life, a contributing factor to developing type 2 diabetes. In order to help make new moms aware of the risks gestational diabetes can have on their own health as well as their baby’s health, access to screening is key – making this important new benefit a huge win for pregnant women.
Creating a health care system that takes the special needs women who are pregnant into account is a commonsense approach, and we are so excited mothers-to-be won’t have to worry about financial barriers, like co-pays, in order to get screened for gestational diabetes – one of the many reasons why we love MamaCare!
* 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.