New Insurance rules affecting millions of women

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Studies show that half of women delay or even forego preventative care because they can not afford it. Officials are hoping those numbers drastically change under the affordable care act.

Beginning August 1, 2012, insurance companies must offer co-pay or deductible-free well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, breast-feeding support and all FDA approved birth control methods.  This will include emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill.

The new guidelines are already sparking some controversy as conservative groups argue that covering the morning-after pill is the same as using federal dollars for abortion. The rules issued Monday by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius include a provision that would allow religious institutions to opt out of offering birth control coverage.

The guidelines only include new insurance plans, but representatives from Health and Human Services say that will affect 88 million Americans.

For many, the benefits will not be seen until January 2013. But women won't have to sign up for anything, the insurance will kick in automatically.

Many insurance companies across the nation are already offering birth control without a co-pay on a voluntary basis.

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