Agencies Employers Must Provide Preventive Health Care Services to Women

By Staff Report

Aug. 2, 2011

Group health care plans would have to provide full coverage—with neither copayments nor deductibles—for a wide range of women’s preventive services under rules issued Aug. 1.

The rules stemming from the 2010 health care reform law and jointly issued by the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury, require full coverage with no plan enrollee cost-sharing for services such as well-woman visits; screening for gestational diabetes; sexually transmitted infection counseling; breast-feeding support, supplies and counseling; domestic violence screening; and U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved contraception methods and counseling.

The mandate would apply for plan years starting on or after Aug. 1, 2012. For calendar years, compliance would begin on Jan. 1, 2013. However, what are known as “grandfathered plans” would be exempt from having to meet the requirements.

In addition, religious organizations would not be required to cover contraceptives if it is inconsistent with their beliefs. A religious employer is one that, among other things, primarily employs individuals who share its religious beliefs and primarily serves those who share in its religious beliefs, according to the regulations, which are scheduled to be published in the Aug. 3 Federal Register.

While the vast majority of plans will have to expand coverage to comply with the rules, employers should have sufficient time to make the needed changes, said Susan Margolis, a director with PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City.

Compared with the overall cost of coverage, the new requirement will result in “very modest” cost increases, said Rich Stover, a principal with Buck Consultants in New York City.

The women’s preventive services come about a year after regulations mandating coverage—except for grandfathered plans—for a wide range of other preventive services, such as blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests and annual physicals. 

Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email


Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.

What’s New at

blog workforce

Come see what we’re building in the world of predictive employee scheduling, superior labor insights and next-gen employee apps. We’re on a mission to automate workforce management for hourly employees and bring productivity, optimization and engagement to the frontline.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


What is Earned Wage Access (EWA)? A Few Considerations

Summary Earned wage access (EWA) programs are an increasingly popular way for employees to access their...

benefits, earned wage access products, payroll, time and attendance

workforce blog


EEOC says that employers legally can offer incentives to employees to get vaccinated in almost all instances

If you’re an employer looking to get as many of your employees vaccinated as possible, you can rest eas...

ADA, CDC, COVID-19, EEOC, GINA, pandemic, vaccinated

workforce blog


Fixing some common misconceptions about HIPAA

Ever since the CDC amended its COVID-19 guidance to say that the fully vaccinated no longer need to wea...

COVID-19, health care, HIPAA, human resources, wellness