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New guidelines issued for required coverage of women's preventive care services

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to impact health insurance plans, employers and employees. The latest news is the amendment of the interim final regulations concerning coverage of preventive healthcare.

Under the ACA, preventive services are to be covered without cost to participants. In this first set of guidance on this topic, women's preventive healthcare such as mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer, prenatal care and other services are to be covered with no cost to participants. That means not having to shell out a co-payment, co-insurance or deductible amounts for the listed preventive care services.

The Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) developed comprehensive guidelines on preventive care and screenings for women, and Health and Human Services (HHS) has now issued additional guidelines on required coverage of women's preventive services.

The new guidance lists out the type of preventive services and the frequency at which they are to be provided at no charge. The preventive services include FDA-approved contraceptive measures and counseling; breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling; and screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence.

The guidance also includes voluntary sterilization, well-woman visits, screenings for gestational diabetes during pregnancy, Human Papillomavirus testing, counseling for sexually transmitted infections and immune deficiency virus infections.

Non-grandfathered Insurance plans beginning on or after August 1, 2011 are required to include these free preventive services as part of their plan in an effort to focus on disease prevention instead of treatment.

Take a look at the HRSA website for a full account of this expanded preventive care coverage at: situations.  If you have questions about your specific situation, we recommend that you obtain independent advice.