When the Affordable Care Act passed, we all rejoiced over what Obamacare would mean for women: Free birth control? Free annual doctor’s visits? Free maternal health care? Hell, yes. Only…if you’re already on insurance, figuring out how to take advantage of the new mandates is confusing, and there isn’t a universal start date for women’s preventive services perks on every insurance plan. Which is why we’re pretty stoked on the National Women’s Law Center‘s complete guide to finding out if your insurance covers free birth control and other women’s preventive care.
To find out, all you have to do is call your insurance company–they recommend using the number on your insurance card–and follow their script.
You might also want to check your insurance contracts or call your provider to find out when your “plan year” starts (many companies have a plan year that starts and ends on a different schedule from the calendar year); in some cases, they won’t know what their new policies will be like until closer to that date.
A word about grandfathered health plans: Confused about what grandpas have to do with healthcare? Under the affordable care act, “grandfathered” plans are any plans that existed before March 2010 and have continuously covered at least one person since then. This includes individual policies or employer-provided policies. Under the ACA, these policies are exempt from the requirement to provide free women’s preventive services, so you may be charged a copay for things like birth control and annual screenings. If you want a policy that does cover those services without copay, it might be time to shop for a new plan, or ask your employer when the next open enrollment date is so that you can explore other plans. (Coincidentally, it also might be time to get very clued into the presidential election and review our candidates’ stances on healthcare policy.)
Photo: National Women’s Law Center