Local women concerned about post-election health care options

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — America’s health care landscape is about to change; the question on the minds of many is, how?

“I had concerns because I work in healthcare,” said Amy Schmidt, a patient health educator for University Hospitals.

Schmidt was concerned women would lose guaranteed access to birth control should President-elect Donald Trump make good on his pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

That’s the reason she scheduled an appointment to have her $1,500 IUD replaced early. The device was implanted in her uterus six years ago.  She had originally planned for a new one in 2017.

“I made an appointment, already, to have it replaced before the end of the year, because I’m just concerned that right now it’s a covered benefit for me,” said Schmidt. “Which is great because they’re expensive.”

Schmidt wasn’t the only woman who feared her access to birth control would be eliminated by the new administration.

“Birth Control methods are free for most people who have insurance and that’s huge,” said Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, an OBGYN professor from University Hospitals.

Greenfield said she was expecting a lot of women to book appointments before the end of the year, based on what she was seeing in a Facebook group to which she belongs called Physician Moms.

“You know, these are people who are kind of in the know about what methods are available, are writing, saying, ‘I’ve got to go get my IUD replaced,’ or, ‘I’ve got to go get an IUD because that door might be closed to me,'” said Greenfield, as she quoted different member posts.

Greenfield said having an IUD implanted now would prevent women from spending about a $1,000 of their own money should coverage be lost; she cited other recognized benefits, too.

“There’s no muss, no fuss, once you have it.  It’s in, you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to go back for follow-up visits, you don’t have to go to the drug store every month, it’s just there; it’s doing its thing,” she said.

Dr. Greenfield said there was another plus to having access to long-term birth control.  She cited a study conducted by the state of Colorado that found the use of IUDs reduced the number of abortions by about 40%.

“They were huge numbers when it’s free and easy access for people,” she said.

Saving more than just money might become an argument the new administration is forced to consider as Mr. Trump weighs which health care benefits will remain and which ones will go.

*More coverage, here.

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