Forty-seven million women will now have access to eight new prevention-related health care services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on Wednesday.

The new rules in the health care law requiring coverage of these services take effect at the next renewal date – on or after Aug. 1 —for most health insurance plans according to a HHS report released Wednesday.

 “President Obama is moving our country forward by giving women control over their health care,” says Secretary Sebelius. “This law puts women and their doctors, not insurance companies or the government, in charge of health care decisions.”

The eight new prevention-related services are:

  • Well-woman visits
  • Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases
  • Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
  • FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive counseling and education
  • Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
  • HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older
  • Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women
  • HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women

These services are based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine, which asked independent physicians, nurses, scientists, and other experts as well as evidence-based research to develop its recommendations.
Group health plans and issuers that have maintained grandfathered status are not required to cover these services. In addition, certain nonprofit religious organizations, such as churches and schools, are not required to cover these services.

Men and children are also able to take advantage of preventive services at no extra charge under PPACA. These services include flu shots and other immunizations, screenings for cancers, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and depression.

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