PHOENIX - Most health insurance plans will be required to cover eight preventative care services starting August 1. This is part of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Patients won't have to pay out of pocket or meet a deductible for the following services:
This adds on to many services already covered without a co-pay, such as mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and prenatal care.
By far the most controversial aspect of the new policy is its contraception coverage.
Under the new rules, all employers -- including religiously affiliated institutions -- must cover Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives such as birth control pills and the so-called Plan B "morning after" pill. While churches are exempt, hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply.
While the new policy goes into effect on Wednesday, religious groups will have a year-long extension to implement the rule.
Religiously affiliated groups have voiced strong opposition to the mandate. Several prominent organizations affiliated with the Catholic Church, which opposes abortion and the use of contraceptives, consider the plan to be an infringement of their religious liberties.
Attempting to assuage critics, the Obama administration announced earlier this year that employees covered by religious organizations will have access to free contraceptives provided by "third-party administrators" or other independent entities.
According to Health and Human Services, this will improve preventative care for 47 million women.
To learn more about what's covered for free, visit HealthCare.gov.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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