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Confused About Stroke Guidelines and Birth Control? Obamacare Can Help. (No, Really, It Can.)

Yesterday, the American Heart Association released new prevention guidelines for women regarding stroke. These guidelines are particularly important for women with high blood pressure, which puts them at increased risk for stroke, the third leading cause of death among women. A quick read of the guidelines and reporting about them raises a question. Both pregnancy and birth control pills put women at greater risk for stroke. So what’s a girl who already has high blood pressure but doesn’t want to get pregnant to do?

Obviously, first she needs to talk to her medical provider about what her options are and how these prevention guidelines apply to her situation. But in talking to her doctor about her options to prevent pregnancy, she should know that thanks to the health care law (the Affordable Care Act), most insurance plans are required to cover all FDA-approved methods of birth control without out-of-pocket costs. So if her doctor thinks that pills aren’t right for her but for example a copper IUD would be right because no hormones are involved, she doesn’t have to worry about the up-front costs for the IUD, insertion, or follow-up appointments. The health care law requires that her health plan cover all of these things without making her pay out-of-pocket.

Reasons like this are part of why the Institute of Medicine recommended that all FDA-approved birth control methods be covered without out-of-pocket costs. Each woman’s medical history is unique, and it is up to her and her medical provider to determine what’s right for her situation. Thanks to Obamacare, she can have insurance for the care she needs.