(San Francisco, CA) - Today, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) panel recommended that the U.S. government require health insurance companies to cover birth control for women as a preventive service -- without deductibles or copayments.
“Today’s IOM recommendation is an enormous victory for women and their health,” said Heather Estes, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific. “If enacted, affordable and accessible birth control will allow millions of women the flexibility they need to choose the best method for them,” Estes continued.
As part of the Affordable Care Act (aka Health Care Reform), an independent panel was charged with recommending which women’s health services were to be considered preventive care – thus free or at low cost. The final decision now lies with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services which is expected in August of this year.
The IOM recommendations also included the following health care services as preventive care:
· One “well women” visit annually
· Diabetes tests during pregnancy
· HIV screening
· Cervical cancer screening
· Sexually transmitted disease counseling
· Support for breast feeding
· Screening for domestic violence
“Providing women access to high quality preventive health care is Planned Parenthood’s top priority. We are pleased to see that the U.S. government is swiftly moving in our direction,” Estes said.
Planned Parenthood Shasta Pacific champions healthy communities and increases access to quality health care, information and reproductive freedom by providing medical services, education and advocacy. PPSP spans 17 northern California counties with 18 full service health centers and 12 satellite sites, providing 164,000 client visits between July 2009-June 2010.