Breaking: IOM recommends free birth control under health care reform law

Since the health care reform bill passed, we’ve been waiting to see what services the law would require health insurance companies cover as “preventive care.” Anything considered preventive care would have to covered without any extra cost or co-pays to the individual.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) was asked to make a recommendation to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in regards to what should be considered preventive care, and today the news that they are recommending that birth control and contraception be covered as preventive care. According to The Hill:

The IOM said “the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling” should be covered for “all women with reproductive capacity.”

It also recommends coverage for annual HIV tests for sexually active women, annual counseling on other sexually transmitted diseases and — for women older than 30 — testing for the human papillomavirus.

Screenings for domestic violence also should be covered, the IOM said.

This is an important win for reproductive health in the health care reform law, and would guarantee access to free contraception for people who are insured. It’s also important that they included coverage for HIV and HPV testing, as well as domestic violence screening.

IOM’s statement is simply a recommendation though, and we have to wait and see if HHS will adopt the recommendations as part of the law set to go into effect in 2014. This seems likely, but there is still that last step.

You can flip through the full report here.

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