Forget the controversy — just take care of yourself.

I don’t know how you feel about the Affordable Care Act, and frankly, it doesn’t really matter. Just know one thing: we are not getting into a politically charged Obama-is-or-is-not-the-devil or Obamacare-is-the-worst-or-the-best-law-ever-passed argument on my blog. I won’t have it. Be forewarned: any comments of that sort will be deleted. There are plenty of other places on the internet to have that discussion.

NWHW-logo-1But this week is National Women’s Health Week, an observance led by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, and that is something I do want to discuss — because the idea is to get women to make their health a priority, which is something we can all get behind. But here’s where the Affordable Care Act and National Women’s Health Week intersect: Under the Act, there’s a list of preventive health services for women that all Marketplace health plans have to cover without charging you a copay — even if you haven’t met your yearly deductible — as long as you get them done by an in-network provider. And since it’s National Women’s Health Week, I thought it’d be worth listing them below. So here goes:

  1. Anemia screening on a routine basis for pregnant women
  2. Breast Cancer Genetic Test Counseling (BRCA) for women at higher risk for breast cancer
  3. Breast Cancer Mammography screenings every 1 to 2 years for women over 40
  4. Breast Cancer Chemoprevention counseling for women at higher risk
  5. Breastfeeding comprehensive support and counseling from trained providers, and access to breastfeeding supplies, for pregnant and nursing women
  6. Cervical Cancer screening for sexually active women
  7. Chlamydia Infection screening for younger women and other women at higher risk
  8. Contraception: Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling, as prescribed by a health care provider for women with reproductive capacity (not including abortifacient drugs). This does not apply to health plans sponsored by certain exempt “religious employers.”
  9. Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling for all women
  10. Folic Acid supplements for women who may become pregnant
  11. Gestational diabetes screening for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes
  12. Gonorrhea screening for all women at higher risk
  13. Hepatitis B screening for pregnant women at their first prenatal visit
  14. HIV screening and counseling for sexually active women
  15. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) DNA Test every 3 years for women with normal cytology results who are 30 or older
  16. Osteoporosis screening for women over age 60 depending on risk factors
  17. Rh Incompatibility screening for all pregnant women and follow-up testing for women at higher risk
  18. Sexually Transmitted Infections counseling for sexually active women
  19. Syphilis screening for all pregnant women or other women at increased risk
  20. Tobacco Use screening and interventions for all women, and expanded counseling for pregnant tobacco users
  21. Urinary tract or other infection screening for pregnant women
  22. Well-woman visits to get recommended services for women under 65

All politics aside, getting yourself the proper testing, screening, counseling, whatever, is important to staying healthy. So take some time to think about what you can do to improve your health and well being. And instead of setting it aside for later, take action now. And have a happy National Women’s Health Week.

4 Responses to Forget the controversy — just take care of yourself.

  1. Mary May 13, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

    Thanks for posting this Wendy! As a breast cancer survivor, I am so happy to see preventive and pre-emptive care on this list. My tumor was caught on a routine mammogram, and had I not been getting regular mammograms who knows what would have happened, since it was an invasive form of cancer. We caught it VERY early – but had I not been taking the time for regular care, I might not even be here. TAKE THE TIME FOR YOUR HEALTH! I am recommitting this year to healthy practices after years of neglect.

    • Wendy May 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

      And thank YOU for reminding all of us about the importance of early
      detection! Your experience is a text-book case of why we need to pay attention
      to our bodies and not put our health on the back burner. It’s easy for us women
      to put everyone else first and not pay attention to our own health. Glad you’re
      doing so well.

  2. Jilly May 13, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

    Our provincial system has changed that PAP smears are only “allowed” every 3 years. This test looks for changes as oppose to being diagnostic. So it should be done more frequently than that. I’m willing to pay as there is history in myself and family. I realize that not everyone can afford it, but it’s my health and I want to keep it. I firmly believe in taking care of myself with what ever tools are available.

    Mary – you’re are not the first I’ve heard of that found it sooner than later. I’ve a good friend going through chemo right now. She just felt something wasn’t right. The cancer hadn’t even shown up on the mammogram….So it helps to listen to your body! Glad too that you are doing well!

  3. Pat banning May 14, 2014 at 12:19 am #

    Maybe I’ve been lucky in my HMO? All of that has been standard care for me for the last 27 years. Were there plans that didn’t include some of those … besides the tests for sexually transmitted diseases. I still feel those should only be at the patient’s request. Otherwise, it’s a tad “big brother” for me.

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