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Health care reform: No more copay for the pill and other services

8:51 AM, Aug 1, 2012   |    comments
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Say "goodbye" to paying a copay for the pill. Millions of women will now have access to free contraceptives and many more services.

It's all part of new health care provisions, which take effect Wednesday, August 1st.

Starting Wednesday, new health insurance plans have to cover a bunch of preventive services for women with no out-of-pocket cost to you.

That's no copays and no deductibles.

The list includes:
- Contraception and sterilization
- An annual "well woman" doctor's visit
- Breastfeeding support and supplies
- Diabetes screenings during pregnancy
- Domestic violence screening
- Counseling for sexual infections and HIV
- Testing for HPV, which leads to cervical cancer

This applies to new insurance plans. Most women on existing plans will start getting the benefits on their plan's renewal date.

Some religious employers are exempted from the new rules, and one private company is suing the federal government over its owner's religious objections to contraception.

The benefits are part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The law passed two years ago, but the sections of the health care reform are set to take effect in stages.

Fourteen free preventative service benefits for women have already taken effect under the Affordable Care Act, including mammograms to screen for breast cancer in women over 40.

President Obama has pledged to defend the Affordable Care Act, and Governor Mitt Romney has promised to get rid of it.

An estimated 47 million women will be eligible for these new benefits -- but that's not everyone.

Certain insurance plans that existed before the passage of health care reform may have "grandfathered" status and they may be exempt from offering the benefits.

Women, you call your employer's benefits hotline or talk to a person in human resources to ask whether you're in one of those "grandfathered" health insurance plans.

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