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NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - From breast feeding supplies, to PAP tests, to contraceptives, health benefits will now be free for millions of women nationwide thanks to new legislation that went into effect Aug. 1.
"We hear it all the time from women -- 'I'm so sorry; I should have been here earlier, I just haven't had the money,'" said Suzanne Wertman of Wilmington's Planned Parenthood. She says she hopes the new legislation will encourage more women to get the care they need.
"I know that there are people that aren't getting the screenings they need," said Wertman. "We've seen a decline in visits with the economy the way it is."
The new legislation makes everything from PAP tests, to contraception, to domestic violence counseling, free for insured women.
"It means that women will be able to come and get the PAP test and the breast screenings, and they won't have to chose between paying their rent and taking care of their bodies," said Wertman.
Not everyone will be covered right away. Women already in plans with copays or deductibles for those services will have to wait until their insurance plans are renewed before they qualify.
"If someone is unsure, then they need to contact their HR person or call their insurance companies and ask," said Carla Turner who works at the New Hanover County Health Department.
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