Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Contraception is Preventive Care! Tell HHS to stop the delays in treating it that way!

From Raising Women's Voices:

Welcome to September – a busy time for health care advocates! This month, we will mark the 6-month anniversary of the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). We need your voices to help ensure that the promise of health reform becomes a reality for women, our families and our communities.
On September 23, 2010, several important provisions of PPACA will go into effect. One of the most exciting is a new requirement for insurers to cover preventive health services and to do it without making consumers pay extra for it – no copayments, deductibles or coinsurance charges allowed! This is great news, and many critical preventive care services are included.
But there's a catch: contraception has not yet been added to the list of preventive care services to be protected from cost-sharing. In fact, it won't be added until at least 2012 – and maybe as late as 2013 -- according to a lengthy process announced over the summer by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). How did this happen? For background information on why contraception was left out of the current list of included preventive services, please click here for an RWV blog entry that explains the issue.
Can we fix this? Yes! HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has asked for public input on the Interim Final Rules for insurance coverage of preventive health care. RWV has written a letter to Secretary Sebeilus
to let her know our views on the importance of women's access to contraception. In the letter we tell her:
  • Cost-sharing protections for preventive health care are tremendously important to women, and we strongly support access to preventive care;
  • Contraception is an essential part of preventive health care for women, and there is a far-reaching public health consensus which demonstrates that comprehensive contraceptive care improves both maternal and children's health;
  • HHS must eliminate the unnecessary and unreasonable delays that are currently postponing women's access to contraceptive care without cost-sharing.
What can you do?
If you are based at an organization that advocates for women's health:
Please have your organization to sign on to RWV's letter to Secretary Sebelius. Read the letter here and email us by September 16 to add your organization's name.
If you would like to share your own views with Secretary Sebelius:
You can write to her directly and tell her that:

  1. Women strongly support cost-sharing for preventive care services.
  2. Contraception is ESSENTIAL preventive care for women, and better access to comprehensive contraceptive care leads to better health for women and children.
  3. Women deserve to have the same protections for preventive health care as everyone else, without any unnecessary and unreasonable delays.
 You can submit your comments directly on the HHS website, or send an email.
If you can sign onto the RWV letter AND submit comments to HHS, please do. The more voices we raise, the better HHS will understand that there's broad public support for access to contraception and the closer we'll be to achieving our goal of ensuring that all women have access to the health care we and our families need.

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