This week the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) added several new, no-cost-to-patients preventive services to the list it aggregates as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The newly added services for women will have to be offered with no co-pay by all health insurance policies on their first plan year beginning on or after Aug. 1, 2012, making the effective start date Jan. 1, 2013.

The Aug. 1 HHS action mandates that the following become co-pay free:

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

In announcing these free services for women, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius observed, "These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need."

Employers, keep your workforces informed of their rights and obligations under PPPACA by procuring and displaying prominently Personnel Concepts' Health Care Reform Employee Information Poster.