Making it Easier for Women to Get Care They Need

By Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Posted August 01, 2011

Everyone wants their family to be healthy. And a key component of this is making sure that mothers, daughters, and sisters have access to the preventive services they need.

Currently, Americans use preventive services at only about half the recommended rate. All too often, the combination of women’s lower incomes and higher out-of-pocket health costs means that women are particularly likely to forgo needed preventive services, such as annual well-woman visits and breastfeeding supplies.

Today we are moving one step closer to knocking down the barriers to the services that can help keep American women healthy. In accordance with the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced historic new guidelines that will ensure millions of women receive preventive health services with no cost sharing, including:

  • well-woman visits
  • screening for gestational diabetes
  • human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 and older
  • sexually-transmitted infection counseling
  • human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling
  • FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling
  • breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
  • domestic violence screening and counseling

By eliminating barriers like copays, co-insurance, and deductibles, these guidelines will help improve access to affordable, quality health care for all women. New private health plans must cover the guidelines on women’s preventive services with no cost sharing in plan years starting on or after August 1, 2012. Call your insurer for more information.

Learn more about the new women's prevention guidelines.