Thanks to the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, 47 million women can now receive regular checkups, support for breastfeeding equipment, and domestic violence screening and counseling at no additional cost, starting this month.
And many private insurance plans must now cover regular checkups for newborns, infants, and toddler without additional costs.
The new women’s preventive services that will directly impact children include:
- Diabetes screening for pregnant women: This screening is for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes. It will help improve the health of mothers and babies because women who have gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future. In addition, the children of women with gestational diabetes are at significantly increased risk of being overweight and insulin-resistant throughout childhood.
- Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling: Pregnant and postpartum women will have access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling from trained providers, as well as breastfeeding equipment. Breastfeeding is one of the most effective preventive measures mothers can take to protect their health and that of their children. One of the barriers for breastfeeding is the cost of purchasing or renting breast pumps and nursing related supplies.
- Domestic violence screening and counseling: Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence should be provided for all adolescent and adult women. An estimated 25% of women in the United States report being targets of intimate partner violence during their lifetimes. Screening is effective in the early detection and effectiveness of interventions to increase the safety of abused women.
Low-income and racial and ethnic minorities often have higher rates of disease, fewer treatment options, and reduced access to care. These new protections will provide the opportunity to receive this vital care to women who could not afford it in the past.
Millions of children and families will benefit from these changes, and over the next year the Affordable Care Act will provide yet additional benefits that will improve the nation's health.
The Every Child Matters Education Fund applauds these new rules and the protection they will provide to children and their mothers. ECM will oppose any effort in the Congress to take these lifesaving benefits away. For more information about the ACA, please visit FamiliesUSA.