Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said a new report due to be released tomorrow calling for no-cost preventive health care coverage for women, including contraceptive services, should be adopted as the nation-wide standard under the Affordable Care Act.
"Giving all women access to these basic preventive services allows them to take charge of their own health care and makes it easier for them to stay healthy and avoid unwanted pregnancies," Pingree said. "Increasing out-of-pocket expenses have put birth control coverage out of range for more and more women, but the health care reform law can fix that."
The report is from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), an independent, non-profit organization affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences. Under the health care reform law passed last year, the Obama Administration will have to decide what services should be classified as "preventive." The health care reform law requires preventive procedures be covered without co-pay in all new insurance policies. The Administration is expected to act on the IOM's new report later this summer.
In addition to coverage for birth control, the report recommends that all new insurance policies provide no-cost coverage for:
· One free well-woman preventive visit a year
· Improved screening and counseling for sexually transmitted diseases and cervical cancer
· Services for pregnant women including screening for gestational diabetes and comprehensive breastfeeding counseling and support
· Screening and counseling for domestic violence
Last summer, Pingree wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, urging the Obama Administration to recommend full coverage for contraceptive services and basic health care screenings.