Health insurance plans to cover birth control at 100%

August 15, 2011

New guidelines announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) require new health insurance plans to cover women?s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible

New guidelines announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, and contraception without charging a copayment, co-insurance or a deductible.

New health plans will need to include these services without cost sharing for insurance policies with plan years beginning on or after Aug. 1, 2012. The rules governing coverage of preventive services, which allow plans to use reasonable medical management to help define the nature of the covered service apply to women’s preventive services. 

"This is evidence of how the private/public partnerships at the heart of health reform can work,” says J.D. Kleinke, Medical economist and author of Catching Babies. “The commercial health plans all know it's good marketing to go to first dollar coverage for something this important, but it's also a pricing and business risk. This rule levels the playing field and let's the commercial plans get on with the harder work of taking care of all those new enrollees.” 

The administration also released an amendment to the prevention regulation that allows religious institutions that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraception services. Plans that have been grandfathered in under the Patient Protecton and Affordable Care Act are also not affected by the prevention regulation.

HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) used an Institute of Medicine report issued July 19 when developing the new guidelines. According to HHS, the IOM’s report relied on independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts to make these determinations based on scientific evidence.