Menopause and the Affordable Care Act: What Does it Mean for You?
I think it’s safe to say at this point, that until Congress gets its act together and the current political bloodbath regarding the new healthcare law is over, nobody knows exactly what the Affordable Care Act will mean for them or their healthcare in the coming months and years.
I personally hope in the end there will be a net gain instead of a net loss for all healthcare consumers, but especially for women in perimenopause and menopause. So far we do know that women’s health will see an expansion in services and coverage by insurance under the law, which is definitely a good thing.
But, my concerns are not so much about the availability of services, but in the actual execution of the changes. When all of the new regulations, mandates, and requirements under the law are in place and fully implemented, will my physician, will your physician, be more or less responsive to your needs?
Because let’s face it, ladies, the medical community doesn’t exactly have a stellar track record in adequately responding to the needs of women seeking help for their perimenopause symptoms. So, I’m having a tough time understanding how increasing the layers of bureaucracy and red tape (and make no mistake about it, this new law will do just that) between physicians and patients is going to increase efficiency, and enable them to spend more time with women seeking help for their symptoms.
So you can call me Debbie Downer, but I just don’t see it happening.
I believe going forward, and as a direct result of this new law, that it will become even more incumbent upon women to take personal responsibility for their hormone health. For some of us, this might be a scary proposition. I mean, how exactly does one do that anyway?
First, there has to be a reckoning with the truth. And that is the fact that our healthcare system is about to change. Perhaps even radically. Which means that as healthcare consumers we must adapt to those changes and be willing to do things differently. Even if it’s uncomfortable at first.
I would strongly recommend that you invest in a book I reviewed here at Healthline.com almost two years ago. It’s entitled The Empowered Patient: How to get the Right Diagnosis, Buy the Cheapest Drugs, Beat Your Insurance Company, and Get the Best Medical Care Every Time, by CNN Senior Health Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. It’s a very easy read, and full of practical advice and information that I think will prove to be invaluable in helping you learn to navigate the changes in our healthcare system.
I would also recommend that you explore a new movement in the healthcare industry which I also wrote about recently here, the E-Health movement and the participatory medicine movement. Both of which are embracing the evolution of modern, Western medical healthcare in the technology age, while also adapting to the changes in how our system will work.
I will be perfectly honest and say that I’m not exactly jumping up and down with glee and excitement over this new healthcare law. I see a behemoth monstrosity so heavy with burdensome regulations and laws coming down upon us, that the only place for that sucker to go is down.
However, I’m also a practical realist at my core, and understand clearly that when change comes, we must adapt and change with them. So you can expect many more posts in the future from me on this topic and other related ones as they come up as well. While I might not like the changes which are coming, the fact remains that they are, and so, I shall adapt and evolve as well.
Magnolia Miller is a certified healthcare consumer advocate in women's health and a women's freelance health writer and blogger at The Perimenopause Blog.