Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new guidelines about women’s preventive health, and announced the services for women that insurance plans must cover without co-payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We first discussed this in a blog following the release of the Institute of Medicine report which outlined eight recommendations for HHS.

The recommendations HHS adopted in its guidelines include:

  • — 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
As with the rest of the ACA, the political cup runneth over when it comes to women’s health issues and what insurance should cover. In an attempt to handle objections to the inclusion of contraception, HHS included in its announcement today an exemption for religious institutions.

This is a historic day for women’s health. The regulations ensure that women across the country will be able to access the important services they need without a co-payment – removing a significant barrier to women living healthier lives.

— Reena Singh, Associate Director of State Consumer Health Advocacy