Ms. Magazine —-January 2014 WOMEN’S Healthcare and the ACA
No one complained when preventive coverage started first for kids and adults in 2010. But when it was time to offer preventive coverage specifically for women’s health, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and conservative politicians realized that prevention also means contraception— and they tried to stop health reform in its tracks. The Obama administration stood strong, however, and the women’s coverage has started to take effect.
All insurers now have to cover well-woman exams (thanks to the lobbying efforts of women senators such as Barbara Mikulski), contraception and breastfeeding (even the expensive stuff such as IUDs and breast pumps), cancer screening such as mammograms and Pap smears, domestic-violence screening and STI counseling. If you’re working for Catholic Charities or a religiously affiliated hospital, however, don’t bother asking your HR department about any of this: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created a work-around so that the bishops don’t have anything to do with your contraceptive coverage. According to Mayra Alvarez, director of public policy in the Office of Health Reform at HHS, “We’ve really worked hard to find the best compromise between respecting religious concerns and women’s access to contraceptive services. …The important compromise is that the religious employer itself is not going to be connected to the policy but the woman will continue to receive the information and the benefit directly from the insurer.”
In other words, every insured woman’s contraceptive needs will be covered—at no extra cost to her.
More: Ms. Magazine