Health-care reform strengthens black women’s health
With open enrollment in the Health Insurance Marketplace up and running, it’s important to know just how important Obamacare is when it comes to women’s health. Read more why health care, reproductive health and which preventive services are covered for no extra cost under these new plans.
Why It Matters to Us
For women struggling to make ends meet, a co-pay and the high cost of insurance can keep us away from seeking the reproductive health care that we need. Fifty-two percent of women have said they go without care because of finances. Not to mention 32 percent of black women are uninsured. This is why increased access to health care means so much.
Since 2010, thanks to Obamacare, health insurance companies have been required to cover preventive care such as Pap smears, clinical breast exams, mammograms and even well baby visits for no co-pay, no deductible and no price-sharing fees. Even better: You do not need a referral to see an OB-GYN anymore and your plan covers maternity care.
Gestational Diabetes Screening
Screening for this form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy will take place either during your first prenatal visit if you are high-risk or at 24 to 28 weeks of your pregnancy if you are normal risk. Studies have shown that black women are less likely to develop gestational diabetes, but if we do have it, we are 52 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later on in life.
For women 30 and older, HPV-DNA testing is part of your care and shouldn’t happen any more than every three years. Among younger women, HPV can clear itself on its own, but HPV takes longer to do so in black women and girls So make sure you talk to your doctor about your risk factors and whether or not you need to be tested.
STD Counseling and Testing
With health-care reform, STD counseling and testing is a crucial part in protecting our reproductive health and reducing our risk contracting other diseases such as HIV. Annual STD testing is very important to black women and girls given our higher rates of undiagnosed and untreated STDs.
HIV Counseling and Testing
Even though our numbers are down 23 percent, black women still have the highest HIV diagnosis rates in the U.S. One way to fight AIDS is through annual testing that can happen at a clinic or your doctor’s office. Just remember, if you do not talk to your doc about testing you for HIV, it may not happen. Speak up and demand to know your status.
Contraception and Birth Control
Most women don’t know this, but under Obamacare, birth control and other forms of FDA approved contraception are free of charge. From the pill to an IUD to the vaginal ring, your insurance company is required to cover that for you. FYI: This includes generic and brand names.
Black women are least likely to breastfeed, even though breast milk is best. One way to reduce this disparity is through breastfeeding supplies (such as pumps) and hospital counseling, which are offered with recent health-care plans.
Screening for Domestic Violence
Domestic/dating violence can cause serious mental trauma, but physical injuries and chronic health problems among women and girls. Guidelines have been put in place for health-care providers to briefly interview female patients in the exam room as a means of getting them the help they may need—for no extra cost.