Women’s preventive health coverage expands

    A new policy for private insurers covering certain women’s health services kicks in this week.

    Health advocates in Pennsylvania are celebrating the end of added costs for preventive care as part of the federal health-care law.

    It will take a couple of years for all health plans to reflect the changes.

    But eventually, new insurance plans or plans renewed after Aug. 1 won’t include added costs for things such as domestic violence screenings and federally approved birth contraception.

    It’s good news for Gwen, a grad student at University of Pennsylvania who didn’t give her full name.

    She says she takes oral contraception to minimize the symptoms caused by a medical condition.

    But the $80 co-pay is steep, so she says she has forgone refilling her prescription before.

    “I resorted to taking my oral contraception pill every other day to stretch a monthly pill pack just a bit more,” she says.

    Services with reduced charges will also include screenings for women at risk of developing diabetes while pregnant, STD counseling, and testing for HPV, which can cause cervical cancer.

    The Pennsylvania Department of Insurance is taking complaints on its website about lags in adherence to the new policy.

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