Submitted by ub on Sun, 02/05/2012 - 11:35

A recent decision by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ requiring insurance coverage for a range of women’s preventive health services, including birth control, at no cost is welcomed by millions.

“The new rule is a victory for millions of women who will now have access to contraception and other preventive health services and supplies, without expensive cost-sharing,” said Kathy Lim Ko, APIAHF president and CEO. “We commend HHS for recognizing the essential role these services play in promoting women’s health.”

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires new insurance plans to cover preventive health services, without cost-sharing, in the form of co-payments or deductibles. HHS charged the Institute of Medicine (IOM) with evaluating and making recommendations about which women’s preventive health services should be included under the preventive health services umbrella. In July 2011, the IOM released its report, “Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps” which recommended the addition of eight preventive services for women to the list of covered services under the ACA. In August 2011, HHS published an interim final rule adopting all of the IOM’s recommendations, including the requirement to provide insurance coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptives, without cost-sharing. On January 20th, 2012, HHS announced it will finalize these requirements.