The Affordable Care Act is the federal health care reform bill that Congress passed and President Obama signed into law in 2010. Under this law, private health insurance plans are beginning to offer birth control and some other preventive services without co-pays or deductibles. Some insurance plans are offering this coverage now. Other plans will kick in over the next few years.
Am I eligible for the new benefit?
The new law only applies to people who currently have private health insurance. Even if you have private health insurance, the coverage might not kick in for a few months or a couple of years – it depends on your plan. To find out when your coverage kicks in, please call the member services number on the back of your health insurance card.
Is my birth control free now?
Some brands and methods of birth control are covered without co-pays and some aren’t. Health plans are allowed to limit free coverage to some generic drugs and devices. All other birth control options will continue to be available to you with co-pays. To find out what will be free and what won’t, please call the member services number on the back of your health insurance card.
What else is covered?
The new law requires private insurance companies to cover a wide range of preventive services, including well-woman visits (Pap tests, cancer screenings, etc), diabetes screening, and prenatal care without co-pays. Just like the birth control benefit, these services are covered if you currently have private insurance and the details depend on your plan.
I have private insurance. Why do I still have a co-pay today?
The details of this new program depend on your employer’s relationship with your health plan. Until your coverage has been verified, co-pays will continue to be collected, so you will not have to be billed later. Your co-pay will be credited to your account or you will be reimbursed if your insurance is paying in full.
How can I get more information about my coverage?
The new law is historic, and millions of people will have access to health care because of it. But it’s also complicated and confusing, like everything involving insurance. Here are some places to turn:
- Call the member services number on the back of your insurance card or talk to your employer’s benefits administrator about what is covered currently and when new benefits will be added.
- Go to www.healthcare.gov, which provides information about benefits under the law and how they affect people in different states and circumstances.