At Wednesday’s signing of the Defending Access to Women’s Health Care Services Amendment Act of 2018, Mayor Bowser announced that open enrollment for District residents has been extended through Monday Feb. 5th at 11:59 p.m. Residents now have five more days to go to DCHealthLink.com to shop for, compare, and enroll in affordable, high-quality insurance plans.
“Preventive care saves lives and reduces health care costs,” said Mayor Bowser. “In Washington DC, we are committed to ensuring all residents are able to get the care and services they need to thrive and get on pathways to the middle class. Over the next five days, we are asking the entire community to work with us to ensure all your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors get covered and stay covered.”
Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6-D) wrote and introduced the bill, which then moved through the Committee on Health, chaired by Councilmember Vince Gray. Advocates from NARAL, Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan-Washington and Planned Parenthood as well as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists were critical in passing the bill.
The permanent version codifies which benefits must be included in health plans sold in the District of Columbia without cost-sharing. These services include contraception, screening for breast and cervical cancer, HPV testing, screening and counseling for sexually-transmitted infections, well-woman preventive visits, folic acid supplements, screening for gestational diabetes, and breast-feeding support and supplies.
The permanent version of the bill also expands access to some common forms of birth control, allowing pharmacists to be trained to prescribe directly to patients instead of forcing women to visit their doctor for a prescription before going to their local pharmacy.
“As a reminder, no other state or local jurisdiction in the country has to worry that a random congressman is going to try and meddle with a locally-passed law,” said Councilmember Allen. “But I am worried that with a Congress obsessed with dismantling women’s health care, we need to be ready to fight back and say hands off DC.”
The extended open enrolment period allows all District residents additional days to get coverage.
“The District is committed to giving our residents the time and support they need to get covered and stay covered,” said Bowser. “Because of our long-time commitment to expanding coverage, Washington, DC has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country, but we want to do even better.”
Visit DCHealthLink.com or call 855-532-LINK to enroll.