In our last few posts, we covered the free preventive health screenings that every qualified health plan must provide for all adults and select groups. In addition to those services, qualified health plans must also offer certain types of free care for women, pregnant people, and people that have breasts. You don’t have to pay anything for this care, whether you’ve met your yearly deductible or not. Keep in mind that short-term medical plans don’t have to offer these free preventive services
Although many health insurance plans will categorize these offerings under the umbrella phrase of “services for women”, the Affordable Care Act dictates that you can’t be denied these preventive services because of your gender identity, even if it doesn’t match what’s on your birth certificate. This means that if you identify as a man and have an intact cervical or breast tissue, it’s actually illegal for any healthcare provider to turn you down for pap smears or mammograms.
The law is on your side if your health insurance plan refuses to pay for coverage. The National Center for Transgender Equality has put together a detailed overview of the healthcare rights of transgender people and steps you can take if a healthcare provider discriminates against you.
Free health screenings for pregnant people or people who may become pregnant
During your pregnancy, you can get free anemia screenings on a routine basis. You also have access to:
- Breastfeeding support and counseling
- Contraception (including sterilization procedures)
- Folic acid supplements
- Gestational diabetes screening if you’re 24-48 weeks pregnant and if you're at risk for developing gestational diabetes
- Tobacco intervention and counseling
- Urinary tract screening
- Rh Incompatibility screening
STI & STD screening
Your first prenatal visit comes with a Hepatitis B screening, and you also can receive a syphilis screening and gonorrhea screening (if you’re at risk).
Free health screenings for people with breast and cervical tissue
- Breast cancer genetic test counseling for people who are at risk
- Breast cancer mammography screenings for people over 40 years old
- Breast cancer chemoprevention counseling for people at risk
- Cervical cancer screening
Free health screenings for women
- Domestic and interpersonal screening
- Osteoporosis screening
- Tobacco use screening and interventions
- Annual check-ups, also known as “Well-Woman Visits”
STI & STD screening
- Gonorrhea screening
- Syphilis screening
- HIV screening and counseling
- Chlamydia infection screening
- HPV DNA test
- STI counseling
If your health insurance plan’s coverage started before the Affordable Care Act took effect and you want access to all of these preventive care services, then maybe it’s time you started shopping around for a different health provider. Luckily, your plan renews annually and you can change it starting November 1st during Open Enrollment. You might end up saving money, like our client Michaela did when she changed her health insurance plan.
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