Bennet Applauds New Guidelines to Close Gender Gap in Preventive Health Services

HHS Announcement Comes on Heels of Bennet Letter Urging Women's Preventive Health Services Be Covered

Washington, DC – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today applauded the announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of new guidelines to ensure women receive preventive health services at no additional cost. Announcement comes on the heels of Bennet letter urging HHS to follow the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommendations to help close the gender gap on recommended preventive health services for women and men.

“For too long, women’s preventive health services have not been covered by insurance the way men’s preventive care has,” said Bennet. “Women will now have important preventive care covered by insurance, which will help women detect health issues early and prevent more expensive and intrusive care down the road. Investing in preventive health care for women is among the wisest investments we can make to improve our nation’s health and decrease long-term health care costs.”

New health insurance plans will now be required to cover the entire cost of women’s preventive services, including well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, domestic violence screening, sexually-transmitted infection counseling, HIV screening and FDA-approved contraception.

Before health reform, too many Americans didn’t get the preventive health care they needed to stay healthy, avoid or delay the onset of disease, lead productive lives, and reduce health care costs. Often because of cost, Americans used preventive services at about half the recommended rate.

During the health reform debate, Bennet joined 24 Senators on a letter urging Senate leadership to include an end to gender rating, which unfairly charges women higher premiums than men, in the Affordable Care Act. This letter served as a catalyst for the Women’s Preventative Health Amendment to the Affordable Care Act.

For more information on the HHS guidelines for expanding women’s preventive services, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/womensprevention08012011a.html. The guidelines can be found at: www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/.