'No Cost' Women's Health Benefits Begin Today

Chris Maddaloni/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images
Chris Maddaloni/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

(The Root) — Beginning on Wednesday, most health insurance plans will have to offer a broad array of women's preventive health services — most notably coverage of birth control — at no up-front cost to patients.


The changes are thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and although they're being challenged legally, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is celebrating what the development means for American women. "President Obama is moving our country forward by giving women control over their health care," she said. "This law puts women and their doctors, not insurance companies or the government, in charge of health care decisions."

"Because of the Affordable Care Act, secure, affordable coverage is becoming a reality for millions of American women and families," the Department of Health and Human Services said in a press release.


Here are the eight new no-cost services — all pretty important, if you ask us:

Well-woman visits

Gestational-diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases

Domestic and interpersonal-violence screening and counseling.

FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling

Breast-feeding support, supplies and counseling

HPV DNA testing for women 30 or older

Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually active women

HIV screening and counseling for sexually active women

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