HHS: No Co-Pays for Preventive Women's Health Services

Margaret Dick Tocknell, August 2, 2011

The Department of Health & Human Services has accepted guidelines developed by the Institute of Medicine that 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, HHS said Monday.

Two weeks ago, the IOM, which was commissioned by HHS, proposed a list of preventive health services for women that health plans should cover without charging a copayment. The recommendations included contraceptive services and made no exception for religious organizations that might object to those services.

Although the recommendation was lauded by groups like the American Medical Association and Planned Parenthood, Catholic bishops and the Catholic Medical Association publically opposed the measure.

HHS has proposed an amendment that would permit religious institutions that offer insurance to their employees to choose whether or not to cover contraception services.

This regulation is modeled on the most common accommodation for churches available in the majority of the 28 states that already require insurance companies to cover contraception. 

Public comments on the proposed amendment will be accepted for 60 days, HHS said.

Margaret Dick Tocknell Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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