LA CROSSE (WEAU)-August 1st is a day that has become history for women and health care all around the nation. Several aspects of the Affordable Care Act have been placed into action including no-cost wellness checks and breast cancer screenings for women.
Beginning August 1st every employer in the United States is required to provide free contraception and other health services for women through their insurance companies.
Catholic institutions have been left exempt from the new rules until August 1st of 2013.
Women with insurance should ask their employer or insurance agency when they are renewing their services. Not every insurance company is required to change their policies beginning the 1st.
Health plans must now provide free screening for everything from STD’s to diabetes to domestic violence.
The options clinic in La Crosse provides reproductive health care services and education . Services Manager Erin Behlen says she’s ecstatic for the change.
“It’s a great day for women in the united states. This health care is recognized as being critical and important to women since the 1970’s,” said Behlen.
The options clinic will now be offering a multitude of services for free to women with insurance.
“Your annual exam, breast cancer screenings, PAP tests and also FDA approved contraceptive methods, as well as STI counseling will all be provided by us,” said Behlen.
The new rules have been highly controversial with conservative and religious groups.
“If government is going to tell us how to be Catholic then we are no longer protected by one of the most cherished documents of the republic, the constitution of the United States,” said La Crosse Diocese Bishop William Callahan.
Callahan says the year long exemption of the law for religious institutions is a poor attempt by President Obama to appease to the Catholics.
“The accommodation allows us a year to reform our consciences and grip the fact that we may have to change whether we like it or not,” said Bishop Callahan.
Women could be saving hundreds from the switch.
“It costs an average of $600 dollars a year for birth control,” said Behlen.
Governor Walker does have some say in how Wisconsin will deal with the new health care law, although he has no power over the 8 services that will be provided beginning this month.
Walker has yet to decide how Wisconsin will proceed with expansion of medicaid and new insurance exchanges. Walker and many governors like him are waiting until after the November election before they make any changes.