KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

IOM Panel Recommends Insurance Coverage For Contraception

The recommendation by the Institute of Medicine advises that contraceptives for women be treated as one of the several preventive services provided free of charge under the new health law.

The New York Times: Panel Recommends Coverage For Contraception
A leading medical advisory panel recommended on Tuesday that all insurers be required to cover contraceptives for women free of charge as one of several preventive services under the new health care law (Pear, 7/19).

Los Angeles Times: Panel Recommends That Health Plans Cover Contraception For Women Without Co-Pays
An independent panel of doctors and health experts is recommending that health plans cover a variety of contraceptives for women without co-pays, setting the stage for another debate over the effect of the health care overhaul. The law that President Obama signed last year requires new health plans to cover a basic set of preventive health services without co-pays or deductibles for patients, a key provision of the new law that experts believe will encourage more Americans to get recommended immunizations, cancer screenings and other services (Levey, 7/20).

The Washington Post: Birth Control Coverage Proposed For Most Health Insurance Plans
Virtually all health insurance plans could soon be required to offer female patients free coverage of prescription birth control, breast-pump rentals, counseling for domestic violence, and annual wellness exams and HIV tests as a result of recommendations released Tuesday by an independent advisory panel of health experts (Aizenman, 7/19).

The Wall Street Journal: Report Backs Contraception
The report was released Tuesday by the Institute of Medicine, which advises the U.S. government on health issues. It was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to identify gaps in the department's list of preventive health services already covered for women. It recommends that insurers cover "the full range" of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration as well as sterilization and patient counseling as a way to prevent unintended pregnancies and to help women space their pregnancies over time (Hobson, 7/20).

KHN's Capsules blog: IOM Recommends Free Birth Control For All
American women ought to be able to get their birth control for free, according to a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM).  The group is the latest to weigh in on which preventive services health insurers should have to offer at no cost under the new health law (Gold, 7/19).

NPR: Medical Panel Recommends No-Cost Birth Control
The study - released a day early - actually calls for eight additional services for women to be added to the list of preventive care patients should be offered with no cost-sharing. The new services include annual "well-woman" visits; screening of pregnant women for gestational diabetes; screening for sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV; more support for breast-feeding mothers; and counseling and screening for possible domestic violence. ... The IOM panel was firm in rejecting claims by opponents, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that "to prevent pregnancy is not to prevent a disease" (Rovner, 7/19).

PBS Newshour: Women Should Get Free Birth Control, HHS-Backed Group Urges
Commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services to identify "critical gaps" in the agency's list of preventive services, the highly influential IOM report recommends that all U.S.-approved birth control methods be covered by insurers. That includes the controversial "morning-after" or "Plan B" pill that is considered by some to be a form of abortion because the woman takes it in the hours after sexual intercourse. The reform law requires insurance plans to cover services on the HHS list, meaning the adoption of the recommendation would make the pill co-pay free for "all women of reproductive capacity" (Kane, 7/19).

CNN: Birth Control Should Be Fully Covered Under Health Plans, Report Says
Contraceptives, sterilization and reproductive education should be covered by health insurance plans with no cost to patients under the health care reform law, a new report recommends. The birth control methods, services and education should be available "so that women can better avoid unwanted pregnancies and space their pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes," according to a report from the Institute of Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization that gives advice to decision makers and the public. … It's unclear whether HHS will implement the report's recommendations. That decision could come as early as August (Park, 7/19). 

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