Free Birth Control
New federal guidelines instruct health insurance companies to offer free birth control to women.
Starting August 1st, 2012 insurance companies will be required to cover all FDA approved contraceptives for new plans, without a co-pay.
This includes the pill, IUDs and the so-called "morning after pill", a prescription that works by blocking or delaying ovulation.
Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, and OB/GYNs say the ability to plan for pregnancies is crucial for women's health.
"Women who have rapid successive pregnancies, that is pregnant within a year of their most previous delivery, are at increased risk for preterm delivery and other complications of pregnancy," points out Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Dr. Ted Anderson.
The guidelines include a provision that allows religious institutions to opt out of birth control coverage.
Women with health coverage will also be entitled to an annual physical, HPV screening, breast pumps and counseling on domestic violence.
The guidelines do not require coverage of RU-486 and other medications used to chemically induce abortions.
Some brand name drugs may have a co-pay if a generic version is available.