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Group: No Need for Women to Sacrifice Health Care in Tough Economic Times

December 16, 2009

DES MOINES, Iowa - With job losses high and health insurance benefits being cut, some women may decide to skip a prescription or an annual exam to save money.

In Iowa, however, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland wants women to know that may not be necessary. The Iowa Family Planning Network offers these types of services through the Planned Parenthood clinics.

Laura Dickey, a network specialist for Planned Parenthood, says women don't need to sacrifice either their birth control or reproductive health care during this tough economic time. The services also include some screening for sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), she adds.

"It covers one annual exam per year, a year's worth of contraception, and limited STI testing and treatment. Whenever they come to the clinic, we just offer that if they qualify for it. Otherwise, it's through word of mouth. I know we have a lot of younger patients who come in, and they'll bring their friends with them."

Dickey says the services are provided free of charge to those who qualify, and even women who normally would be considered middle-income might be eligible if they have lost their health insurance coverage. The program covers women in Iowa with household incomes that are 200 percent of the federal poverty limit. For a family of four, that means an annual household income of just under $60,000.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA