Women to get preventative services for free

By Kathryn Mayer

July 31, 2012 • Reprints
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Beginning Wednesday, all new health insurance plans will be required to provide eight preventive health benefits to women for free as part of health care reform.

These benefits include contraceptives; breast feeding supplies and counseling; HPV DNA testing; screenings for gestational diabetes, domestic violence, HIV and sexually transmitted infections; as well as routine check ups for breast and pelvic exams, Pap tests and prenatal care.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says these services are based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which relied on independent physicians, nurses and scientists to develop its recommendations.

Other free preventative services—including mammograms to screen for breast cancer in women over 40—have already taken effect as a requirement of health reform.

Previously some insurance companies did not cover these preventive services for women at all under their health plans, while some women had to pay deductibles or copays for the care.

According to a new HHS report also released today, approximately 47 million women are in health plans that must cover these new preventive services at no charge.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has long celebrated women getting help with health reform.

“President Obama is moving our country forward by giving women control over their health care,” Sebelius said. “This law puts women and their doctors, not insurance companies or the government, in charge of health care decisions.”

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