Who made this thing?
This site was created by Tia — a next-gen women’s healthcare company for millennial women by millennial women.
We created the Vagina Benefits to bring some much needed transparency — and hopefully, a dose of clarity! — into the complicated, volatile world of healthcare and health insurance. With the law and policies changing day by day, it’s impossible (yes, not humanly possible!) for the layperson to stay in-the-know on their healthcare rights, undermining the ability for people to access quality, affordable care. The Vagina Benefits aims to help solve this problem by equipping people with accurate and digestible information about their healthcare rights, what’s at risk, and what they can do to protect them.
This is cool. How can I get involved??
Glad you think so 😍 ! The success of this effort depends on individuals, employers and organizations joining forces to protect the Vagina Benefits. Have an idea for how to educate others about their Vagina Benefits? Email firstname.lastname@example.org!
What are the Vagina Benefits, exactly?
The Vagina Benefits are a subset of the ACA's preventive care benefits for women. These preventive services must be covered 100% by insurance plans — without cost-sharing (i.e. copayment or coinsurance).
For simplicity, we bundled certain preventive services together. For example, we grouped Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia and HIV screenings together as one category — “STI screenings” — in our list of Vagina Benefits. Similarly, we grouped BRCA counseling, mammography screenings, and chemoprevention counseling together as “breast cancer screenings” in our list of Vagina Benefits.
But, why did you include some but not all of the ACA’s preventive care benefits?
Today, Tia’s focus is providing evidenced-based reproductive and sexual health information to people seeking to avoid pregnancy. For this reason, we chose to focus on preventive services that are most relevant to our user population instead of other services such as “Folic acid supplements,” or “breastfeeding” that are more pertinent to pregnant people. Over time, we’d love to include our analysis to encompass all federally-mandated preventive health benefits!
Why “people with vaginas”?
People with vaginas have different healthcare needs than people who don’t. It’s just a fact. One that, if we choose to ignore, puts our health — and our wallets — at risk. In creating an informational tool laser-focused on these anatomical realities, we further our goal of making Tia an inclusive product that provides personalized health information to anyone with female anatomy — no matter what gender you identify with, what you look like, or who you love.
Where do these Vagina Benefits cost estimates come from?
We’ve compiled data from across various sources to arrive at our cost estimates, including CMS Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, Amino, BreastCancer.org and Blue Cross of Massachusetts.
For data cited from the CMS Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Search we’ve added a 20% premium to arrive at low end cost estimate, and a 40% premium to arrive at the high end cost estimate. Premiums are added to account for the fact that, while many providers base their fees off of Medicare schedules, these fees are not representative of real costs for consumers, which are typically marked up between 20%-400%. In an effort to be reflect median costs ranges, we’ve executed a maximum of 40% markup on CMS cited costs.
In the event that we were unable to find CMS data for certain procedures, we relied on sources from Amino, BreastCancer.org and Blue Cross of Massachusetts. These costs are cited without mark up as they are out of pocket costs derived from the source’s proprietary data sets.
For a detailed analysis of our cost data methodology by Vagina Benefit, see this document.
Why don’t you account for other vagina-related health services like maternity care or abortion in your Index?
Maternity care is included as an Essential Benefit under the ACA, but is treated separately from preventive services that must be covered 100% without cost-sharing (see: ACA’s Essential Health Benefits for details).
Access to abortion services is not mandated by the ACA, and therefore, we chose not to include it in our Index. However, we are eager to expand our Vagina Benefits Index over time to bring more transparency into the laws and coverage with regard to a multitude of benefits vagina-bearing humans need access to.
Interested in helping us expand the Vagina Benefits Index? Email email@example.com.
What is the Tia app?
The Tia app is a personal, private chat-based health advisor you can message with about birth control, sexual and reproductive health, insurance and more. Through a chat-based interface, you can ask Tia questions ranging from “why is my period late?” to “what does an abnormal pap smear mean?” to “what is a deductible?” Tia is available for free for iPhone on the App Store.