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White House Announces Preventive Services Covered Under Affordable Care Act

The White House will announce today which preventative services are free under the new health care law, according to the Wall Street Journal. Under these new regulations, certain preventive procedures, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, tobacco cessation services, and obesity prevention services, will not require a copayment or other direct costs starting in September. According to the new regulations, which were based on recommendations from groups including the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, birth control does not count as a preventive service. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America hopes to get birth control included in a separate set of regulations specifically for women’s health. Those regulations are expected to be released in the coming months, reports the Wall Street Journal. Laurie Rubiner, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of public policy, told Politico earlier this month that it is important to “ensure that this part of women’s health is covered under preventive health.” Under the new regulations, mammograms will count as a free preventive service at age 40. This regulation ignores a recommendation released by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force last year, which advised that women wait until 50 to start receiving annual mammograms. Due to the current costs, Americans use preventive services at approximately half the suggested rate, according to the Wall Street Journal. Free preventive services are among the tangible benefits of the healthcare overhaul. President Obama signed the final version of the Affordable Care Act in March. The final law will eventually add coverage for 32 million people, increasing access to family planning and preventive care.

Sources:

Wall Street Journal 7/14/10; Politico 6/1/10

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