Beginning today, all new health insurance plans will be required to provide eight preventive health benefits to women for free.
The benefits include contraceptives, breast-feeding supplies and screenings for gestational diabetes, sexually transmitted infections and domestic violence, as well as routine check-ups for breast and pelvic exams, Pap tests and prenatal care.
The services are a requirement of the health care reform law Congress passed in 2010. A new report released Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services estimates 47 million women are in health plans that must offer the new benefits.
“Women will be able to have access to essential preventive services that will provide early detection and screening for those situations where they’re most at risk, and also provide opportunities to care and services that they need as wives and mothers,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Maryland, said at a press conference Monday.
An additional 14 free preventative service benefits for women have already taken effect as a requirement of health care reform, including mammograms to screen for breast cancer in women over 40 and screenings for osteoporosis in women over age 60.