Late last month, an Institute of Medicine panel issued recommendations to the White House that birth control, along with a variety of women’s health services, should be covered under the Affordable Care Act. Earlier today, the Dept. of Health and Human Services made its final decision on the matter public.
Among those items that will be covered by most insurance plans without patient copay:
* FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling;
* well-woman visits;
* screening for gestational diabetes;
* human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older;
* sexually-transmitted infection counseling;
* HIV screening and counseling;
* breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling;
* domestic violence screening and counseling.
New health plans will need to include these services without cost sharing for insurance policies with plan years beginning on or after August 1, 2012.
One of the biggest concerns about making these services available without copay is that insurance companies will still need to make up the costs elsewhere. This likely means even higher monthly rates for policyholders.
Defenders of the plan argue that, by making preventative care more affordable and easier to get, insurers and healthcare providers will see a decline in the number of patients seeking costly care later.