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Deal With Your Health. And Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, We Can.

Originally posted on on November 7, 2011
by Elizabeth Beaulac, Outreach Intern at NWLC 

Women are unique. Our time spent as full time employees often coincides with our time spent as family caregivers. We are more times than not bombarded with societal double standards. But, we deal. We deal with these things every day, no matter how frustrating.

Not surprisingly, our health concerns and needs are unique. Thanks to theAffordable Care Act, we can be better prepared to deal with these as well.

Because of landmark legislation on the health care front, young women will now have the option to receive potentially life-saving screenings without a co-pay, making it easier for many women to access them. In fact, starting in January 2012, all new health insurance plans will be required to cover preventive care, such as STI screenings for young women at no additional cost.

Additionally, one of the most valuable services covered in the Affordable Care Act is the availability of all FDA approved contraception for young women with no co-pay or deductibles, which will go into effect next year.Women 17-35 are among the most likely to use birth control, and now thanks to the health care law, we can obtain it without charges that drain our bank accounts. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 99% of sexually active women use contraception at some point in their lives. This fact alone makes it imperative for women to have easy and affordable access.

During college I was told by my doctor to begin using the pill due to excessive cramping – something to which many women can relate. As many readers can also relate to, college students are poor. Meals usually consist of Ramen noodles and Tupperware full of dining hall leftovers. Our money goes to books and in my case having gone to school in D.C., transportation and housing.

Suffice it to say, my co-pay of $15 a month began to add up. $15 doesn’t sound like a lot to most people, and compared to some insurance plans, it’s not. I was and continue to be on my Mom’s health insurance plan. The only reason I am able to do that is because of the under 26 provision included in the Affordable Care Act. Some of my friends however, were not as lucky. My roommate in college was paying $30 a month for her Nuva Ring prescription. Let’s just say we stayed in most weekend nights because of our tight budgets. One night we were talking about our prescription co-pays, and posited, “Is it really fair that because we are being smart and safe by dealing with our health, we have to give up a social life and buying groceries?”

Thanks to the new provisions in the ACA, preserving our health doesn’t mean giving up the things we wish to spend our money on anymore.