Several prevention-related health services will be covered without cost sharing in new health plans as of a couple of weeks ago as a result of the Affordable Care Act.  The changes are designed to help lower costs and outcomes for a variety of preventative women’s services.  Previously, some insurance companies didn’t cover some of the new preventive services, while some women had to pay deductibles or co-pays.  The new rules in the health care law requiring coverage of these services take effect at the next renewal date. 

Some of the new services include: 1) Well-woman visits; 2) Gestational diabetes screening for pregnant women; 3) Domestic violence screening and counseling; 3) Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; and 4) Sexually transmitted infections and HIV counseling for sexually-active women.  The list of required services are based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which relied on independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts as well as evidence-based research to develop its recommendations. These preventive services will be offered without cost sharing beginning today in all new health plans.  Group health plans and issuers that have maintained grandfathered status and certain nonprofit religious organizations (like churches and schools) aren’t required to cover the new services.