Preventative health care has been a chronic challenge in the American healthcare system, but due to the fact that chronic diseases – which make up about 75 percent of the country’s health spending, and that they are the cause of 70 percent of deaths every year – are frequently preventable, this type of healthcare is now being pushed into the spotlight.
Affordability has been one of the main problems holding back preventive services. Currently, most of these therapies, even those with insurance coverage, are subject to cost sharing, such as co-insurance, deductibles, and copayments. These reduce the likelihood that a patient will use preventive services. Studies have shown that this is especially common among women who will avoid preventive services such as pap smears and mammograms when copayments (even moderate ones) are involved.
The new legislation by the Affordable Care Act is now assisting with the accessibility and affordability of these services by making it a requirement that all Americans obtain a health insurance plan that covers these services without any form of cost sharing. This way, the healthcare services that are preventive for women’s health issues such as screenings for cervical cancer, mammograms, and others, will be covered without having to pay anything out of pocket.
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Moreover, for people on Medicare, the Affordable Care Act is recommending additional free preventive services. That said, it is understood and recognized that women have unique health requirements throughout their lives.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced that it will be taking on additional Guidelines for Women’s Preventive Services, which includes breastfeeding equipment support, well-woman visits, contraception, and screening for domestic violence. As of August 2012, these will all be covered without any cost sharing.
Also, others are looking into another way to combate out of pocket expenses and provide an incentive for early detection with supplemental health insurance like cancer insurance plans. This, in many states, offers women money for preventative wellness tests like mammograms, pap tests and other well tests.