5 Things You Need To Know About The Birth Control Mandate - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

5 Things You Need To Know About The Birth Control Mandate

MSNBC.COM - While controversy over one aspect of the Obama administration's contraception rule – whether and when religiously affiliated employers must comply – has dominated recent headlines, that debate has obscured other questions about how the rules will actually be implemented.

Under the health law, insured women will qualify for contraceptives without a copayment as part of a range of preventive medical services. But insurers and advocates are frustrated by the lack of details. They're asking, for example, whether surgical procedures must also be covered at no additional cost to patients.

"The unknown answers to the myriad of questions remain very worrisome," says Judith Lichtman, senior advisor to the National Partnership for Women and Families, an advocacy group in Washington D.C.

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the industry lobbying group, sent a list of questions to the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) in September, asking for clarification on what types of contraceptives must be covered and how insurers should structure their policies. A spokesman for AHIP says the group is still awaiting answers to some questions.

Contraceptives are part of a package of women's preventive health care services under the Affordable Care Act -- including screening for diabetes, counseling about sexually transmitted diseases and breast feeding support -- that must be provided without deductibles or co-pays in all new policies beginning Aug. 1. The package was drawn up after recommendations from the Institutes of Medicine (IOM). Other parts of the health law also provide no-cost-sharing preventive services for children and all adults, such as certain cancer screenings and immunizations.

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