Yesterday the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced new guidelines, developed by the Institute of Medicine, that will require private insurance plans beginning on or after August 1, 2012 to cover an annual well-woman visit and a variety of specific health screenings and counseling, such as for domestic and interpersonal violence, gestational diabetes, cervical cancer (an HPV DNA screening), HIV and STIs, as well as all FDA-approved contraceptives, breastfeeding support, lactation services, and supplies. Nevertheless, HHS issued an amendment to the guidelines, which permits religious institutions that offer insurance to employees to choose whether or not to cover contraceptive services.
These guidelines will increase vitally needed and often lifesaving preventive services for women. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius stated, "These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need."
Birth control and other women's health services will not be free but will be fully covered for all women who have health insurance, without any additional charges or co-pays. This rule will apply to new insurance policies that are issued after the expiration of a one year waiting period, which starts after HHS adoption of the recommendations, and to all plans by 2018.
Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) stated, "Today marks an incredible step forward for women's health. By adopting each of the IOM's recommendations for preventive women health care services, the Obama Administration is ensuring that all womenóregardless of how they get their health care ó will have increased access to the services they need to be healthy. For too long, women have faced financial and access barriers that have kept them from the services that they need. These new rules change that.
Media Resources: HHS.gov 8/1/11; CNN 8/1/11; American Medical News 8/1/11; Statement of Lois Capps 8/1/11; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/19/11
2/27/2015 This Bipartisan Bill Will Hold Colleges Accountable for Ending Campus Sexual Assault - A bipartisan bill aimed at holding colleges and universities accountable for rape and sexual assault cases was introduced in Congress yesterday, spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY).
Some of the Campus Accountability and Safety Act's key key provisions include a requirement of confidential reporting systems on colleges and universities, minimum training requirements for campus personnel, and stricter penalties for schools found to be in violation of Title IX or the Clery Act. . . .
2/26/2015 If This Bill Passes Federal Law Will Add Consent to Sex Ed Curriculums - Right now, federal law does not require health or sex education to include sexual assault prevention - but that could change with a new bill introduced by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).
The Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015, which was introduced earlier this month, would require all public secondary schools in the country to include teaching "safe relationship behavior" in order to help prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. . . .