Citing the Affordable Care Act, the White House affirmed today that health insurance plans must cover birth control without co-pays. The requirement will take effect Jan. 1, 2013. Tens of millions of women are expected to gain coverage initially, and that number is likely to grow with time.
Also to be covered, without co-pays, are breast bumps, an annual "well woman" physical, as well as screenings for cervical cancer and diabetes during pregnancy. New health-care reforms will also require insurers to cover counseling on domestic violence, without co-pays.
As recently as the 1990s, many health-insurance plans didn't even cover birth control.
"These historic guidelines ... will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need," said Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.