Today, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, seven of his Senate colleagues, and women's health advocates at a press conference to praise the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions that allow women to receive certain preventive health care services free of out-of-pocket costs. Currently, more than half of American women report that they delay needed care due to costs.
Starting tomorrow, approximately 47 million women in the United States, and 637,900 in Connecticut, will now have guaranteed access to additional preventive services without cost-sharing for policies renewing on or after August 1, 2012.
"Preventive health care and detection save both lives and money -- helping to drive down the costs of health care delivery," said Blumenthal."Preventive screenings provided to women tomorrow with no out of pocket costs will help to stop the spread and severity of disease before its costs spiral astronomically. Tomorrow is a great day and new era in America for health care quality and equality."
Under the ACA, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) was charged with recommending the vital core benefits for women that should be completely covered by health plans free of out-of-pocket costs. On July 19, 2011, the IOM released its findings, which recommended that insurance plans should cover a core group of eight preventive services for women. Last year, Blumenthal called on HHS to stand by the IOM's recommendations, because of the significant health benefits they provide to women and their ability to cut health care costs.
Women will have access to the following preventive services without cost-sharing beginning August 1, 2012:
* Well-woman visits
* Gestational diabetes screening
* HPV DNA testing
* STI counseling, and HIV screening and counseling
* Contraception and contraceptive counseling
* Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
* Domestic violence screening