Updated 08/01/2012 04:18 PM
New healthcare benefits mean free services for women
A new phase of the Affordable Care Act rolled out Wednesday with particular attention to women's health. As our Megan Cruz tells us, private health insurers will now be required to cover a host of preventative services to women without a co-pay.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
NEW YORK STATE -- "Cost is always an issue," said Laura Gallery. She the center director for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood and a college student living on a budget. She's often been forced to make difficult decisions.
"Do I get textbooks or my annual exam?" Gallery would ask herself.
Well those days will soon be gone thanks to a new phase of the Affordable Care Act that takes effect. As of Wednesday, when your health insurance plan renews, private insurers have to offer women a number of preventive services at no cost to them, lifting a costly burden off of millions of Americans.
"Whether they can afford to pay the co-pay for their birth control, which can range from $25-30, sometimes as high as $60, it's a decision women make everyday," said Dr. Christine Pluviose, the Vice President for Patient Services at Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. "Should I pay my grocery bills, my utility bills, versus being able to responsibly plan out my family?"
Under this new phase, women won't have to pay out-of-pocket for the following services: birth control, cancer screenings, well-woman visits, counseling for sexually transmitted diseases, breastfeeding support and supplies, and domestic violence counseling.
But not everyone's excited about these changes.
"We're just saying keep the status quo - not take away people's pills," said Dennis Poust of the New York State Catholic Conference. "We're simply saying we can't pay for those pills. We can't be the organization that provides them because we teach that it's wrong."
Poust says the Church has no problem with birth control methods being available, just that Catholic organizations like schools and hospitals are being forced to provide them to their employees.
"When people come to work at our organizations, they understand that we're Catholic and we have certain requirements as a Catholic employer that requires us to do things a certain way," said Poust.
Opinions or morals aside, the facts of this new phase might be confusing. Healthcare providers encourage women to call their insurance companies for details.
"This is the choice of the individual, and our responsibility is to ensure the access to care," said Pluviose.