It’s August 1st, what are you doing? 1) Moving into a new apartment; 2) Pre-emptively mourning the end of summer, in which case, relax, there are still 51 days left; 3. Getting free birth control? If you answered one or two, good luck holding onto the screws for your IKEA bed. If you think No. 3 is too good to be true, it’s not.
Today marks the roll-out day for a new mandate requiring individual or employer-based insurance plans (you uninsureds are still out of luck) to offer contraceptive coverage without a co-pay. That means if you sign or renew a health insurance policy after today, your birth control is now free, along with a bunch of other things that are now free, including mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer and prenatal care.
Women who purchase new plans will see the act in effect starting today. Anyone with existing insurance will be moved into to a co-pay-free plan whenever their insurance is renewed (Aug. 1, for many employers).
If you are uninsured, you’ll still have to pay out of pocket (socialism isn’t quite here yet). So, ok, it might not be “free” in the Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day sense, since you still are paying your insurance but there’s still good reason to cheer. One, the huge number — 55 percent of all American women — who struggle to keep up with the monthly costs of birth control pills will have a better go of it.
And the decision to plan a family (and your life, in general), or to treat or prevent migraines, ovarian cysts and endometriosis won’t cost you an extra $500-$1,100 a year, as though it’s an add-on to a pedicure at some luxury spa. I know it’s crazy, but not all things just fall out of the sky like cars or suits from Brooks Brothers do! Unless your name is Romney, of course.
In other words: Happy Affordable Care Day, everyone!
Follow Karina: @karinabthatsme.