New health benefits for women start today
I have exciting news to share with American women. Starting today, all new health insurance companies are required to provide many women’s health services for free, including gestational diabetes screening, well-woman visits and breastfeeding support and supplies.
Studies have shown that more than half of all women have delayed or avoided services like these because of their cost. But these changes will give about 47 million women – including more than 1 million in Maryland – helpful services with no co-pay under the new healthcare reform law. New health plans have already been required to provide free coverage of other preventive services like colonoscopies, mammograms, cholesterol screenings and flu shots under the new law.
More good news for women is forthcoming. In the past, insurers could deny women coverage for preexisting conditions, including pregnancy and breast cancer. Insurers could also charge women up to 50 percent more than men for the same coverage. This discrimination will be illegal under the healthcare reform law beginning in 2014.
While we work to improve the healthcare reform law, I continue to support common sense efforts like this to lower costs and restore healthcare decisions to patients and their doctors – not insurance companies.