The controversial part of the Affordable Care Act that will give 47 million women greater access to a variety of health services — including contraception — will go into effect today for many women.
The new rules in the health care law requiring coverage of eight new prevention services take effect at the next renewal date – on or after today — for most health insurance plans. The new prevention-related services are:
Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.
FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling.
HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.
HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.
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 co-pays for the care they needed to stay healthy.
According to a new report released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 47 million women are in health plans that must cover these new preventive services at no charge.
“President Obama is moving our country forward by giving women control over their health care,” Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release put out by the department. “This law puts women and their doctors, not insurance companies or the government, in charge of health care decisions.”
Group health plans and issuers that have maintained grandfathered status are not required to cover these services. In addition, certain nonprofit religious organizations, such as churches and schools, are not required to cover these services. The Obama administration will continue to work with all employers to give them the flexibility and resources they need to implement the health care law in a way that protects women’s health while making common-sense accommodations for values like religious liberty.
To learn more about the health care services you may be eligible for at no extra charge under the Affordable Care Act, go to http://www.healthcare.gov/prevention.
For information about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report on the number of adult and adolescent women eligible for the preventive services at no charge after Aug. 1, 2012, see http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2012/womensPreventiveServicesACA/ib.shtml.