Insurance companies in the United States have to cover birth control and other preventative healthcare interventions fully, the Obama administration rules released on Monday state. The new guidelines were issued by the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department and are a part of the general reforms in healthcare that have been taking place since the Obama administration was voted in. These new guidelines are good news for millions of women, who will now no longer have to pay co-pay for their chosen form of contraception, as well as other preventative healthcare related to gynecological health.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius put it this way: "Under the law, we're making it illegal to charge women more just because of their gender." That sounds great, doesn't it? If you are curious to hear what is covered by the new ruling, it is actually quite a lot more than just birth control. Screenings for gestational diabetes, counseling for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and AIDS, screening for domestic violence, and testing for the presence of HPV, the human papilloma virus, in women older than 30 are also covered. And the morning after pill is part of the birth control that will be available without co-pay now.
Many, both women's rights groups and individuals, are very happy about this decision. The president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America said: "Today is a historic victory for women's health and women across the country. The decision by HHS is monumental for millions of women." There are also voices of dissent from religious groups, of course. But the guidelines do not force insurers to prescribe contraception to everyone as such they do allow insurers to decide whether they want to offer birth control options as part of their services at all. What do you think about this decision? Will it impact your life in a positive way, or are you opposed to it?