Women's Health Week: How Does Obamacare Benefit You?
This week is National Women's Health Week, an opportunity to recognize the need for women to have control over their own health care and family-planning decisions.
And now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a Obamacare, we have a lot to celebrate when it comes to women's health.
Just how does Obamacare benefit women? Each day this week, we'll share a story here at Blog for Choice about how the law helps real women get quality, affordable health care.
Today, we're focusing on the no-cost birth control policy, which will give women near-universal contraceptive coverage. Let's hear from Amanda in Ohio:
At the age of 23 I was a working professional, but still unable to afford the cost of insurance. (At that time, young people stopped being covered by their parents' insurance soon after their college graduation.) Although I was working full-time as an intern to further my career, my employer did not cover my insurance, nor could I afford to pay it. Hence, I was not on birth control for two years before I decided to return to grad school. The institution I attended mandated that students without health care purchase insurance through the school, which I did. However, the full cost of birth control was not covered and I could not afford the monthly co-pay. At this point, I had been off birth control for at least three years.
During the spring of my first year of grad school, I experienced a ruptured ovarian cyst. The pain associated with this was excruciating, beyond anything I have experienced before in my life. It actually felt like an organ had burst inside of me. I could barely walk, or even think, I was in so much pain. A friend rushed me to the emergency room, where I underwent eight hours of testing (x-rays, ultrasounds, etc.) before they could figure out what had happened since the amount of fluid and tissue from the ruptured cyst was so great. After the painful ordeal and recovery, I had to visit an ob-gyn where I learned that being on birth control actually prevented the formation of cysts. I subsequently went on birth control, though it meant I had to borrow money to pay for the copay.
Although I followed protocol and contacted my insurance prior to going to the emergency room, they still would not pay because I did not go to the university health center, which is not equipped for emergency situations. If it took a hospital eight hours to diagnose and treat me, I wonder how a health center without emergency treatment capabilities would have fared?
The insurance company still refuses to cover the service and the $5,000 has been in dispute for years, while negatively impacting my credit and ability to apply for loans.
Basically, because I could not afford insurance or birth control copay as a young woman in my early and mid twenties, (that would have prevented cysts from developing), I now face thousands of dollars of debt, bad credit, and a diminished quality of life as a result.
The new policy will prevent this situation from happening to other young women who dream of having both a professional career and a healthy body. I don't think that is too much to ask...
Fortunately for women like Amanda, Obamacare means that insurance plans will cover the medicine they need without a copay.
Unfortunately, anti-choice politicians like Mitt Romney are fighting tooth and nail to make it harder for women like Amanda to get the health care they need. They're pushing for the Supreme Court to overturn the health-care law, and if that doesn't work, they'll try to repeal it in Congress.
That would have devastating consequences for women like Amanda.
Check back here at Blog for Choice every day this week to read more personal stories!