Beginning today, insurance companies must begin paying for eight vital women’s preventive health services without charging deductibles or co-payments. The new regulations, part of the Affordable Care Act, are expected to improve the health of an estimated 47 million women by the end of 2012, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Paula Johnson, MD, a member of the Institute of Medicine Panel that recommended these services for inclusion in the health law, said that providing coverage for these services is a major advance for women’s health. “Politics has turned attention away from preventive care. If we continue to ignore it, it will bankrupt the country.”
The regulations apply immediately to all new insurance plans. As existing plans get renewed or changed, benefits will be incorporated. All women with private health insurance will receive these services over time, according to Judy Waxman, of the National Women’s Law Center.
Members of Hervotes, a coalition of more than 50 women’s organizations, plan a massive nationwide awareness campaign to inform women about these covered services and encourage them to vote for political candidates that strongly support women’s health and women’s rights. For my report on what several key women’s groups have to say about these new benefits, check out the HealthCetera blog at the Center for Health, Media & Policy.
Visit Healthcare.gov for detailed information about the new covered services.