Public Health Institute Welcomes HHS Final Rule on Preventive Health Services Guidelines for Women
The Public Health Institute (PHI) welcomes the final rule on preventive health services issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on January 20. This action by HHS will help ensure that women with health insurance will have access to preventive services recommended by the Institute of Medicine, including all forms of contraception approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In August 2011 PHI praised HHS for issuing an interim final rule on preventive health services that required new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, HIV screening and counseling, screening for gestational diabetes, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible. A provision added to the final rule announced on January 20 gives nonprofit employers that do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan based on religious beliefs one more year – or until Aug. 1, 2013 – to comply with the new law.
By accepting evidence-based recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine, HHS is acting to ensure that a host of key preventive services will be more widely available for women, helping them to stay healthy, avoid or delay the onset of disease and lead productive lives. This represents an important step in implementing the Affordable Care Act, addressing health disparities, reducing health care costs and, ultimately, saving lives.