Women’s preventative services no cost under the Affordable Care Act

Contraception, breastfeeding support and gestational diabetes screenings — they are all important to ensuring healthy, planned pregnancies and healthy babies, and soon they will more accessible.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released new guidelines today, developed by the independent Institute of Medicine, that require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.

The preventative services that will no longer require cost-sharing by the patient are:

  • well-woman visits
  • screening for gestational diabetes
  • human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 years and older
  • sexually-transmitted infection counseling
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling
  • FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling
  • breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
  • domestic violence screening and counseling

These new guidelines are part of the Affordable Care Act. New health plans will have to include these services without cost sharing for insurance policies with plan years beginning on or after August 1, 2012.