Millions of women could be impacted by new preventative health care amendment

by: Torie Wells Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Starting Wednesday, millions of women will have free access to more health services, including free birth control. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates 47 million women could be impacted.

“It puts the power back in our hands. We control our destiny,” said Tameran Archie, from Charlotte.

Starting Wednesday, the Women's Preventative Health Care Amendment also requires private insurance companies to provide STD screening, routine checkups, breast-feeding supplies and domestic violence counseling for free.

“It's a particular focus on preventive care and tests,” said UNC Charlotte Professor Bill Brandon.

Brandon said the change will encourage more women to seek care they may have avoided because of the cost.

“The amount you pay as a co-payment is actually pretty large, which will discourage people from getting these screening tests,” he said.

Brandon said that paying for prevention will save the healthcare system money in the long term.

“Avoiding preventable births may actually save the insurance company money,” he said.

Not all insured women will see a change yet. Certain plans that were in place before the health care law was passed have been grandfathered in. Brandon said that will change in 2014.

Religious organizations have some extra time to cover these services. And churches and houses of worship won't have to cover birth control.