For Hometown News
TREASURE COAST -
Women's Health Specialists is urging area women to begin now to learn more about important changes in wellness coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The new wellness coverage began Aug. 1.
"We are urging our patients and women throughout the region to become familiar with provisions of the Affordable Care Act that can improve the health of women in general and may help to save lives," said Bill Hughes, administrator of Women's Health Specialists, a team of obstetricians, gynecologists, certified nurse-midwives, nurses and support staff.
The Affordable Care Act helps make prevention affordable and accessible by requiring new health plans to cover and eliminate cost sharing for preventive services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Bright Futures Guidelines recommended by the Academy of Pediatrics.
The law also requires insurance companies to cover additional preventive health benefits for women.
For the first time, HHS is adopting new guidelines for women's preventive services to fill the gaps in current preventive services guidelines for women's health, ensuring a comprehensive set of preventive services for women.
Additional women's preventive services that will be covered without cost sharing requirements include:
. Well-woman visits: This would include an annual well-woman preventive care visit for adult women to obtain the recommended preventive services, and additional visits if women and their providers determine they are necessary.
. Gestational diabetes screening: This screening is for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes.
. HPV DNA testing: Women who are 30 or older will have access to high-risk human papillomavirus DNA testing every three years, regardless of pap smear results.
. STI counseling and HIV screening and counseling: Sexually-active women will have access to annual counseling on HIV and sexually transmitted infections.
. Contraception and contraceptive counseling: Women will have access to all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling.
. Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling: Pregnant and postpartum women will have access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling from trained providers, as well as breastfeeding equipment.
. Domestic violence screening: Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence should be provided for all women.
New private health plans must cover the guidelines on women's preventive services with no cost sharing in plan years starting on or after Aug. 1.
Services at Women's Health Specialists include wellness exams, prenatal care, menopause management, cancer screening and prevention provided in a personalized and comfortable environment from headquarters located adjacent to the Treasure Coast Square Mall in Jensen Beach with branch offices in Okeechobee and St. Lucie West.
Women's Health Specialists' headquarters is located at 3498 N.W. Federal Highway in Jensen Beach.
For more information, visit www.HealthCare.gov or www.whsfl.com.