HHS: No Co-Pays for Preventive Women's Health Services

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , August 2, 2011

The remaining recommendations were accepted by HHS without change. Effective August 2012 health plans will be required to cover, without charging a copayment, co-insurance or deductible, the following women's preventive health services:

  • Well-woman visits;
  • Screening for gestational diabetes;
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older;
  • Sexually-transmitted infection counseling;
  • HIVscreening and counseling;
  • FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling;
  • Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling;
  • Domestic violence screening and counseling.

IOM made the recommendations based on a review of quality evidence, peer-reviewed studies and professional guidelines. The panel chose services that could improve health or decrease the likelihood of a disease in a broad population of women.

"The Affordable Care Act helps stop health problems before they start," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  "These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need."

A report by the Commonwealth Fund found that in 2009 more than half of women delayed or avoided preventive care because of its cost.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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