A New Day For Women’s Health: Women’s Preventive Health Services Available Without Copays
WASHINGTON, JULY 31, 2012 — New health care guidelines that will ensure women receive preventive health services without additional cost take effect tomorrow under the Affordable Care Act. The March of Dimes encourages women to take advantage of the services that will be available without cost-sharing, especially women who wish to start families.
“We want healthy women to have healthy babies,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, President of the March of Dimes. “Receiving regular medical care greatly increases the likelihood that important messages can be delivered to pregnant women around issues such as nutrition and tobacco cessation, and provides opportunities to detect potentially dangerous conditions like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.”
The guidelines, adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and based on recommendations from the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine, require new and non-grandfathered private insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services, such as annual well-woman visits and prenatal and preconception care, without charging a copayment or other cost-sharing.
“The primary goal of preconception care is to improve the health of women before they become pregnant,” said Dr. Howse. She urges women to take advantage of preconception care because it allows providers to identify conditions or behaviors that can impact a future pregnancy and provide appropriate intervention. Examples include tobacco cessation services and nutrition counseling, and controlling chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes.
Although the new guidelines are effective beginning tomorrow, the changes may not appear in insurance plans until the anniversary of the coverage. The guidelines were issued pursuant to Section 2713 of the Affordable Care Act, which directed HHS to develop guidelines for women’s preventive health services that insurers would be required to cover without cost-sharing.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.