This past Mother’s Day launched the 18th annual National Women’s Health Week. Led by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, the goal is to empower women to make their health a priority and raise awareness of the steps one can take to improve their health.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends many common measures, such as proper health screenings, staying physically active, eating healthy, and promoting other healthy behaviors. Healthy behaviors include getting enough sleep, being smoke-free, washing your hands, not texting while driving, or wearing a seatbelt, a bicycle helmet, or sunscreen when appropriate. Furthermore, the National Women’s Health Week website has suggestions for women in their 20s to their 90s.
The repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA)/new healthcare law awaiting a vote in the U.S. Senate after passing through the House of Representatives removes a regulation forbidding insurance companies from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions. Prior to the ACA, pre-existing conditions included many routine women’s health issues including pregnancy and Cesarean sections. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) also removes the ACA’s essential health benefits guidelines, many of which were in place to promote and ensure women’s health.
There have been reports that being a victim of sexual assault or domestic abuse would qualify as a pre-existing condition under the AHCA. While this is not specifically the case, follow-up treatments for assault such as STI-prevention or injuries sustained through abuse can lead to higher insurance costs or denial of healthcare coverage.
There are resources for women in need. In a previous blog post, we detailed the National Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. Information for the local offerings from the program can be found in the NeedyMeds State Sponsored Programs section. There are other government programs for women’s health to be found on our site, including WISEWOMAN, a program that provides low-income, uninsured/under-insured women with blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes screenings.
NeedyMeds has a database of over 15,000 free, low cost, or sliding scale clinics, over 4000 of which offer women’s health services. Search your zip code for clinics in your area, and find Women’s Health in Services under the Details heading to find free or low-cost medical attention. Assistance for women’s health can also be found in our Diagnosis-Based Assistance database by searching for conditions that affect the women in our lives. For more resources, check our website at Needymeds.org or call our toll-free helpline at 1-800-503-6897.