New Federal Guidelines For Women's Health Care

August 2, 2011 Updated Aug 2, 2011 at 9:42 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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August 2, 2011 Updated Aug 2, 2011 at 9:42 PM EDT

(WKBW/ABC News) The White House announced new guidelines for women's health care today to ensure that women receive a wide range of preventive care including contraception, domestic violence screenings and breastfeeding support at no additional cost.

“The Affordable Care Act helps stop health problems before they start,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said today. “These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need.”

The new guidelines were developed by the independent Institute of Medicine which conducted a scientific review and provided recommendations on the specific preventive measures needed to keep women healthy.

Starting Aug. 1, 2012, new health insurance plans will be required to cover women’s preventive care without charging a co-pay or deductible. The new guidelines require health insurers to provide FDA-approved birth control, including emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill, HIV screenings, and well-women visits, among other services.

The guidelines also include an amendment that allows religious institutions that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraception services.

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