From United Healthcare- On Aug. 1, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new health plan coverage that will require health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services such as well-woman visits, domestic violence screening, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved contraception, without charging a copayment, coinsurance or a deductible.

 Authorized under provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, these guidelines, developed by a committee of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, expand the previous list of preventive services that must be covered without charging a copayment, coinsurance or a deductible to include:

  • Well-woman visits
  • Screening for gestational diabetes for all pregnant women
  • Human papillomavirus DNA testing for all women 30 years and older
  • Annual sexually transmitted infection counseling for all sexually active women
  • Annual counseling and screening for HIV for all sexually active women
  • FDA-approved contraception methods, sterilization procedures and contraceptive counseling
  • Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling, including costs for renting breastfeeding equipment
  • Domestic violence screening and counseling  
  • New health plans and non-grandfathered plans and issuers are required to provide coverage consistent with these guidelines in the first plan year (in the individual market, policy year) that begins on or after August 1, 2012. Many of these services are covered today for UnitedHealthcare enrollees; however, cost sharing usually applies.  

UnitedHealthcare has a long-standing commitment to advancing health promotion, disease prevention and wellness services for the people we are privileged to serve. Preventive care interventions have been important components of our health risk identification capabilities and our ability to proactively assist our members in living healthier lives. As such, we look forward to participating in the comment period regarding these new guidelines that ends Sept. 30, 2011, and implementing the final regulations.  

In the interim, please read our viewpoint on “Clinical Perspectives on the New Coverage Guidelines for Preventive Services for Women,” posted above, which we hope will be of assistance to women as we continue our efforts to advance wellness and prevention during this transitional period. Also read about the guidelines here: http://www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/#footnote