Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Women’s Rights Still Improving, Says Marla Ahlgrimm

Marla-AhlgrimmThe Affordable Care Act has done scores of good for women who now, regardless of income or insurability, have access to life-saving screenings that they may have otherwise foregone.

Q: Why is the Affordable Care Act important for women specifically?

Marla Ahlgrimm: As recently as just a few years ago, a woman must have had insurance or have paid out-of-pocket to receive certain healthcare screenings. With the exorbitant cost of medical care today, the screenings were not within reach of a large number of American women. As a result, many suffered unknowingly with diseases like breast or cervical cancer until it was too late. The Affordable Care Act made women a priority by offering screenings like these, and more, to women as part of their monthly health-care premiums.

Q: How has the Affordable Care Act affected maternity coverage?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Since the inception of the act, maternity coverage in America is now guaranteed. This coverage, which provides for the health of both the mother and unborn baby, was often not included in traditional insurance plans. Unfortunately, because of this, many mothers went without vital prenatal care.

Q: Is birth control covered?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes, like maternity insurance, contraceptives are now covered with no out-of-pocket costs to women of childbearing age. This is important because it empowers women to make sexual decisions for themselves without fear of an unplanned pregnancy.

Q: What is the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program?

Marla Ahlgrimm: This program is a project partly directed by Sen. Tammy Baldwin. It is a cooperative program that helps low-income women coordinate the clinical screenings that could save their lives, thanks to early detection. The program works hand-in-hand with the expanded services available through the Affordable Care Act to help women obtain breast exams, Pap smear test, and other health screenings.

Q: Prior to the Affordable Care Act, how did health care companies discriminate against women?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A woman could be dropped from a health insurance plan if she received treatment for cervical or breast cancer. Additionally, many insurance providers did not include prenatal services in their basic healthcare coverage – something that all women and infants should have access to.


Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

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