With the looming threats by the Republican-led White House to repeal the federal health care law (Obamacare), a new health care bill, Defending Access to Women’s Health Care Services Amendment Act, was introduced to prevent insurance companies from charging more specifically for women’s health services like cancer screenings or contraceptive costs. According to news sources, Washington officials signed legislation requiring all insurance companies in the Washington, D.C. to cover a list of women’s health care procedures without asking patients to pay additional out-of-pocket costs. The mayor of D.C., Muriel Bowser, will send the bill, which was written by D.C. Council member Charles Allen, to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Under home rule, Congress has 30 days to review and to approve or overturn the bill.
According to the Washington Post:
The Defending Access to Women’s Health Care Services Amendment Act requires insurers to cover preventative care like breast cancer screenings, HIV and HPV screenings, as well as contraceptive counseling and breastfeeding support and prevents insurers from “cost-sharing” or passing on fees to patients.
According to the bill an individual health plan or group health plan, a health insurer offering health insurance coverage for prescription drugs, and health insurance coverage through Medicaid shall 36 provide coverage for and shall not impose any cost sharing requirements for the following health care services:
- “(1) Breast cancer screening;
- “(2) Screening for gestational diabetes;
- “(3) Human papillomavirus testing;
- “(4) Counseling for sexually transmitted infections;
- “(5) Counseling and screening for human immunodeficiency virus;
- “(6) Contraceptives, including over-the-counter contraceptives; patient education
- and counseling on contraception; sterilization procedures; and related follow-up services;
- “(7) Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling;
- “(8) Well-woman preventative visits;
- “(9) Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence; and
- “(10) Any additional preventive services for women that must be covered without 49 cost-sharing under the 42 U.S.C. 300gg-13, as identified after the effective date of this Act by the 50 United States Preventive Services Task Force or the Health Resources and Services