Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report which determined that contraception and several other services should be considered preventive care as they improve the health of women. The report recommends that all of these services be covered without co-pays or deductibles. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is expected to use these recommendations to issue the government’s final decision on this issue by August 1st.
In addition to contraceptive services for women, the panel recommended that the government require health plans to cover screening to detect domestic violence, screening for H.I.V, and counseling and equipment to promote breastfeeding, including the free rental of breast pumps. The report also found that all insurers should be required to cover screening for gestational diabetes in pregnant women, DNA testing for the human papillomavirus as part of cervical cancer screening, and annual preventive-care visits. Such visits could include prenatal care and preconception care, to make sure women are healthy when they become pregnant.
Under rules issued last year, many health plans are already required to cover numerous preventive services like blood pressure and cholesterol tests, colonoscopies and other cancer screenings, and routine vaccinations.
To stay on top of the latest information on contraception as prevention and other issues impacting women’s health visit the Raising Women’s Voices new Women’s Preventive Health Coverage – Information Central.
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