In a historic move for women’s reproductive and preventive health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new guidelines Monday requiring health insurance companies to cover women’s preventive health services, including birth control. The rules take effect August 1, 2012.
“This is a tremendous step forward for women and families,” said Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO on Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “Not since the Comstock Laws, which banned information about contraceptives, were overturned in 1965 has there been a more significant development regarding contraceptives and preventive women’s health.”
“In addition to the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods, the ruling also makes the following available without co-pays or cost sharing:
- annual well-woman preventive visit
- screening for cervical cancer/HPV
- counseling for sexually transmitted infections
- counseling and screening for HIV
- screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence
- breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
- screening for gestational diabetes
In issuing its ruling, the Health Department adopted findings by the independent Institute of Medicine, which cited the need for the country to move from a reactive health-care system to one that fosters health and wellbeing.
“We know that these are cost-saving measures,” said Stoesz. “They help prevent unintended pregnancy, detect cancers early, help stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections and significantly increase access for those who are living paycheck to paycheck. The ruling makes sense financially, and is the compassionate and responsible thing to do.”
CONTACT: Sarah T. Williams, 612-821-6183