U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) applauded recommendations made today by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for coverage of comprehensive preventive health care screenings and care for women with no additional copayments or deductibles.
Today's IOM recommendations were made under the Mikulski Women's Preventive Health Care Amendment, which guarantees women of all ages will receive, at no cost, an annual women's health exam. The Mikulski Amendment also requires all health plans to cover comprehensive women's preventive care and screenings with no copayments. It became law as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
"Today's IOM report means we are one step closer to saying good-bye to an era when simply being a woman is treated as a pre-existing condition," Senator Mikulski said. "We are saying hello to an era where decisions about preventive care and screenings are made by a woman and her doctor -- not by an insurance company, Members of Congress, or a stranger -- and women are guaranteed preventive screenings and care with no additional copays or deductibles."
Under the Mikulski Amendment, coverage will be determined by guidelines based on IOM's recommendations. These guidelines, the first comprehensive preventive health care guidelines for women, will expand on the limited recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force.
The IOM's recommendations are based on a review of existing guidelines and an assessment of the evidence on the effectiveness of different preventive services. The IOM committee identified diseases and conditions that are more common or more serious in women than in men or for which women experience different outcomes or benefit from different interventions. The report recommends the following additional services:
· screening for gestational diabetes
· high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing as part of cervical cancer screening for women over 30
· counseling on sexually transmitted infections
· counseling and screening for HIV
· contraceptive methods and counseling to prevent unintended pregnancies
· lactation counseling and equipment to promote breast-feeding
· screening and counseling to detect and prevent interpersonal and domestic violence
· yearly well-woman preventive care visits to obtain recommended preventive services Prior to the Mikulski Amendment in the ACA, insurance company bureaucrats decided what preventive services were covered for women.
"Insurance companies have used every trick in the book to deny coverage to women. My amendment makes sure that the insurance companies must cover the basic preventive care that women need at no cost. We said no to the punitive practices of insurance companies in health care reform. No longer will women pay 40 % more than men for the same coverage. No longer will insurance companies be able to deny coverage to women because they've had a medically mandated C-section or been the victim of domestic violence," Senator Mikulski said.
Currently, more than half of American women report that they delay needed care due to cost.
To view the IOM report, Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps, go to: