Insurers to be Required to Cover Contraception

August 19, 2011 • Family Planning, Reproductive Health, United States, Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Joyce Johnson for this article. See:

HHS announces free birth control for women

By Sabriya Rice, CNN Medical Producer

August 1, 2011 9:59 a.m. EDT

(CNN) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new guidelines in Washington Monday requiring health insurance plans beginning on or after August 1, 2012 to cover several women’s preventive services, including birth control and voluntary sterilization.

According to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius the decision is a part of the Affordable Care Act’s move to stop problems before they start. “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need,” she said in a news release.

In July, the Institute of Medicine issued the results of a scientific review of women’s health needs and provided recommendations on specific preventive measures to help them. Today HHS approved those recommendations.

Besides contraceptive use, the list includes free screenings for conditions such as gestational diabetes and the human papillomavirus (HPV), as well as breastfeeding support and counseling on sexually transmitted diseases. The full list is available on the Department of Health and Human Services website.

The decision to offer free contraception was not supported by all. For example, groups like the Family Research Council claims the decision “undermines the conscience rights of many Americans” and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of Committee on Pro-Life Activities with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says “pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible.” They feel the decision forces people to participate who may have moral or religious convictions that oppose contraception use.

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