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  • New HHS Guidelines for Women’s Preventative Services

     On Aug. 1, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new health  plan coverage   guidelines that will require health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-  woman visits, domestic violence screening, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved contraception, without charging a copayment, coinsurance or a deductible.

    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.  It is possible that your current health plan covers these services now, but may have a copay or co-insurance percentage.

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