April 25, 2014

Law requires more coverage for women

Groups advocating for the health of women are applauding the start of new federal rules on contraceptives and other services. The rules that kicked-in August 1st under the Affordable Care Act require health insurance to cover a wide range of services without charging a co-pay. Those include access to contraceptives, pregnancy care, domestic abuse counseling, and screenings for sexually transmitted infections.

Sara Eskrich with the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health says the change will greatly expand the ability of women to access vital care without having to worry about the financial impacts.

While many insurance providers already covered those services, Eskrich says costly co-pays have been a major roadblock for some. For example, she says many women currently are unable to avoid the co-pays for birth control that can be as high as $60 a month.

While the rules take effect this month, not all of women will see the benefits of the change right away though. Eskrich says they will not be implemented in plans until the current benefits year ends, so it may not be until mid-2013 that all plans incorporate the zero co-pay provisions.

Not everyone is celebrating the change though. The conservative Faith and Freedom Coalition says the mandate will force millions of Americans to choose between having health insurance or their conscience and faith. The group is urging voters to consider the issue in the Presidential election this coming November.

The change is expected to impact the benefits received by over one million women in the state.

AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:08)