Critical Services For Women’s Health Are Now Available And Free

Eight New Preventive Services for Women Required by New Health Plans

For the first time ever, beginning today, women enrolled in new employer-sponsored health plans will have access to eight new preventative services without cost (free of co-payment or deductible requirements.) The Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, contained key provisions requiring health plans with renewal dates on or after August 1, 2012, to provide the following eight services to women without cost:

Well women visits to include routine breast and pelvic exams

Gestational diabetes screening for pregnant women

Testing for human papillomavirus, for women 30 and older

STI counseling for sexually active women

HIV screening and counseling for sexually active women

FDA approved contraception and contraceptive counseling

Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling

Domestic violence screening

These services were based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which relied on evidence-based research to develop its recommendations.

Previously some insurance companies did not cover these preventive services for women at all under their health plans, while some women had access to these services but only after paying deductibles or copays for these services. Some insurance plans in effect before the passage of the Affordable Care Act may have “grandfathered” status and may be exempt from offering the new benefits. Additionally, certain nonprofit religious organizations, such as churches and schools, are not required to cover these services.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that these new benefits will be available to 47 million women.

   

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