Understanding Vagina Benefits and Fighting for Yours
Decoding complex laws about reproductive rights is a mind-numbing task and presents an ever-evolving legal minefield. It’s true, we are talking more about previously taboo topics like periods, breast health, and all things vaginal health. However, some of the best pro-women’s health legislation we’ve ever seen, the “Vagina Benefits,” is under attack by the current Administration’s hell-bent commitment to unraveling The Affordable Care Act (ACA). Here’s a little 101 on Vagina Benefits and what you can do to preserve them.
What are the Vagina Benefits?
In 2010, the Affordable Care Act created a subset of “preventative health services for women.” Once passed, this became the first federal law to require all insurance plans to 100% cover a particular set of health services for women. This law improved access to women’s essential healthcare services.
What Services are Included in Vagina Benefits?
As written the following services were included in the vagina benefits for $0: birth control, STI tests, UTI screenings, Pap tests, breast cancer screenings, and “Well Person” exams. Without this plan, the cost of being a healthy woman skyrockets. Birth control can cost anywhere from $120 to $1,296. Pap tests, essential for checking for cervical cancer and HPV, can run anywhere from $175 to $497. Breast cancer screenings, which are critical for women as early breast cancer is easier to treat and has a better prognosis, can cost upwards of $493 to $5,531. The ACA gave 55 million women access to copay-free birth control and reduced insured women by 40%.
Vagina Benefits Under Attack
As the current administration continues to chip away at the ACA, vagina benefits become more endangered. If these benefits are no longer mandatory on a federal level, it will fall to the states to protect them, and if you check out this informative graph, you’ll see that the future doesn’t look too good in most states. Some states, like Oregon and Illinois, will still protect birth control but it’s likely it will be a cost-share situation. New York and Hawaii are the only states committed to free birth control. New York is the only state taking a stand to keep vagina benefits intact as written.
So, what can you do? Put some pressure on your representatives to protect Vagina Benefits at the state level. If you have employer-based insurance, inspire your employer to preserve your Vagina Benefits in next year’s insurance plan. Finally, share #MyVaginaMyRights to encourage others to get educated and get involved in the fight to keep this critically important healthcare in place!