SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Proponents of the new federal health care law say it gives women more options, access, and control over their care, especially with new preventative services that will now be available for free.

Starting Wednesday, 47 million women across the country will begin to have free access to contraceptives, checkups and counseling.

“In today’s society, women want more control over their bodies, being pregnant and planning a family,” said Dr. Fransisco Aguirre on Tuesday.

The change is part of President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. Women who are insured won’t have to pay co-pays anymore for birth control, certain pregnancy screenings and counseling, HIV testing and even general checkups.

“I’m happy with my coverage, but if it’s a little cheaper, good for us,” one woman said Tuesday of the changes.

Dr. Aguirre says the change will let women choose between brand name birth control or generic without having to worry about price.

“Most insurance covers those but at a higher deductible, so this will eliminate that and give women more choices,” he said.

But so far, even with women, reviews are mixed.

“I think if you can’t afford it, you should have it, but if you can afford it you should pay for it,” one woman said.

“There’s potential somewhere down the line in the health care system, we’d end up paying for it somehow,” another said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Managed Healthcare says if eliminating the co-pay has any effect on the price of insurance premiums, it won’t be much. That’s because these free prevention measures will prove cheaper than treatment after the fact, proponents say.

“We see a lot of young mothers, single mothers, so with the ability for more access to birth control, hopefully they can plan better and we will see less of those,” Aguirre said.


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