U.S. Rules Order Birth Control Coverage

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 1 (UPI) — Health insurers will be required to cover preventive care for women, including birth control, in one year, the U.S. government said Monday.

The federal Department of Health and Human Services issued the guidelines, which take effect Aug. 1, 2012, under the healthcare overhaul.

“These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need,” Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

The move approves recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine in July, CNN reported.

The services that must be covered include birth control, voluntary sterilization, screenings for gestational diabetes and the human papillomavirus, breastfeeding assistance and sexually transmitted disease counseling.

Some religious groups have objected, but the administration amended the rules to give religious institutions that cover their workers health insurance the choice of whether to cover contraception.

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