Health Law Is a Game-Changer for Women

Are you one of the 380,000 Oregon women who are already eligible to benefit from no-copay women’s preventive care like birth control and cancer screenings, among many other benefits, thanks to the Affordable Care Act? If not, you can sign up for affordable health insurance during the enrollment period ending February 15th.

Getting insurance means you can see a range of healthcare providers when you need to – and thanks to the ACA, routine well-woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control and other services are available without copays or other out-of-pocket expenses. As the leading women’s healthcare provider in Oregon and Southwest Washington, Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette knows firsthand how important affordable basic health care is for women and their families. Our clinicians, educators and volunteers are ready to help women and their families take charge of their health by signing up for an affordable health insurance plan.

Across Oregon, people are already feeling the positive effects of the ACA:

* According to Oregon Health & Science University, the number of uninsured Oregonians has dropped by a whopping 63%, from 550,000 to 202,000 people.

* According to University of Minnesota, Oregon experienced the nation’s largest decline in uninsured children – thanks in large part to the Healthy Kids program. The rate dropped more than 6 percentage points and is 1.5 percent lower than the national average.

* According to The Huffington Post, Oregon and Maine are tied as the best states for reducing premature births – thanks in large part to Medicaid expansion. A spokeswoman for March of Dimes said, “Better access to insurance helps you plan and space your pregnancies, and better access to

preventive care helps make sure you’re healthy” before and between pregnancies.

* According to The New York Times, the biggest winners from the Affordable Care Act include people who live in rural regions: “The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate [include] much of inland California and Oregon.”

* According to Politico, Oregon overcame its technical glitches “partly because of sustained community outreach efforts.... The surprising part of Oregon’s story is that even with all of the technology problems, it is still enrolling a significant portion of its residents.”

This is why Planned Parenthood is continuing to lead awareness, education and enrollment efforts here in Oregon. Local, in-person enrollment assisters are standing by to help women understand the law and how to find a plan that works best for them. Our website PlannedParenthoodHealthInsuranceFacts.org provides a glossary of important terms; a calculator that helps visitors get a sense of what kind of financial help they can get; and specifics on what to consider as a woman choosing a health insurance plan. We’re also co-sponsoring a “Last Chance Open Enrollment Fair” from 9am-2pm Saturday, February 14th at Legacy Emmanuel Hospital’s Lorenzen Center, 2801 N. Gantenbein Ave.

The health care law says that most Americans must get insurance or pay a fine. It’s important that people know that the fine for this year is $325 per family member without insurance (or 2% of your family’s income). It’s also important to know that most Americans will get help paying for a plan. So make sure to learn more about the financial help you can get.

For almost 100 years, Planned Parenthood has been providing expert women’s health care, and that’s not changing. Whether or not you have health insurance, you can still come to Planned Parenthood for professional, nonjudgmental and confidential care.

The historic advancements in the ACA are helping level the playing field for women by making the things we need to stay healthy available for free, without a copay. That’s an additional $600 a year in your pocket to use toward other financial priorities in 2015 – and that’s a game changer.

Laura Rodriguez is the Director of Patient Support Services for Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette, which provides a wide range of youth education programs and preventive healthcare services, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment. For more information visit PPCW.org.

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