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Women’s Preventive Services

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) makes evidence-based recommendations about clinical preventive services.  These recommendations are based on a rigorous review of existing peer-reviewed evidence and are intended to help primary care clinicians and patients decide together whether a preventive service is right for a patient's needs. The Task Force assigns each recommendation a letter grade based on the strength of the evidence and the balance of benefits and harms of a preventive service. Under the Affordable Care Act, most health plans  cover recommended women’s preventive services, including contraception, prescribed by a healthcare provider without requiring cost sharing, such as a co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible, for evidence-based items or services that have in effect a rating of ‘A’ or ‘B’ in the current recommendations of the USPSTF.

Additionally, the independent Institute of Medicine (IOM) provided recommendations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding which preventive services help keep women healthy and should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines for preventive services for women. The IOM guidelines, which were incorporated into the Health Resources Services Administration’s (HRSA) Women’s Preventive Services Guidelines, updated in 2016, include contraceptive methods and counseling to include “all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.”  

For more information regarding covered preventive services, please see this frequently asked questions resource.

Content created by Office of Population Affairs
Content last reviewed on May 3, 2017