On Aug. 1, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new health plan coverage that will require health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services without charging a copayment, coinsurance or a deductible. This will most likely translate into higher premiums, as someone needs to pay for the cost of these services and it will not be insurance companies or Dr’s.
Authorized under provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, these guidelines, developed by a committee of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, expand the previous list of preventive services that must be covered without charging a copayment, coinsurance or a deductible to include:
- Well-woman visits
- Screening for gestational diabetes for all pregnant women
- Human papillomavirus DNA testing for all women 30 years and older
- Annual sexually transmitted infection counseling for all sexually active women
- Annual counseling and screening for HIV for all sexually active women
- FDA-approved contraception methods, sterilization procedures and contraceptive counseling
- Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling, including costs for renting breastfeeding equipment
- Domestic violence screening and counseling
- New health plans and non-grandfathered plans and issuers are required to provide coverage consistent with these guidelines in the first plan year (in the individual market, policy year) that begins on or after August 1, 2012.
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