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Health Reform: No-Cost Contraception Starts Today

Health Reform Law to Extend 8 Free Preventive Health Services –- From Birth Control to Breastfeeding Support -– to 47 Million Women

Removing a Barrier to Prevention

Eliminating costs associated with women's preventive health services has been identified as an important factor in removing a major barrier to needed care.

A 2009 report by the Commonwealth Fund found that more than half of women -- up by more than 25% from 2007 -- delayed or avoided preventive care because of cost. In addition, the government cites a study that found women's use of mammograms went up by as much as 9% when costs for the screening were removed.

Although the provision takes effect today, most women won't gain access to free preventive services until the start of their plan year. For most Americans, that's likely to be in January 2013, when most health insurance policies renew.

Grandfathered health plans -- those already in place when the Affordable Care Act became law in March 2010 and that haven't made significant changes to their benefits -- are exempt from the new requirement.

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