An Institute of Medicine committee on July 19 issued a non-binding recommendation to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that eight preventive health services for women be added to the list of services that new health plans are required to cover at no cost under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The ACA requires new health plans to cover the services contained in HHS's comprehensive list of preventive services, without cost-sharing.
Among other recommendations, the committee says that plans should be required to cover the "full range" of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives and counseling on how to prevent unintended pregnancies; screening and counseling for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; and counseling and equipment to promote breastfeeding. To read the full list of recommendations, visit www.nationalacademies.org.
The committee also encouraged HHS to establish a committee to periodically review and update the guidelines on preventive health services for women as new science emerges. The recommendations are under review by HHS, which requested the study.