There is more good news coming this week for women because of the Affordable Health Care Act (ACA). Beginning August 1st, millions of women around the country will be able to receive free preventive health care benefits. So, what does this mean in the day-to-day lives of women? A whole lot for their health!

In a nutshell: Under the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) new guidelines, women will no longer have to pay for preventive health care.

Specifically, health insurance plans will be required to fully cover these vital services: well-woman visits; domestic violence screening and counseling; breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling; FDA-approved contraception methods and counseling; screening for gestational diabetes; human papillomavirus DNA testing for women 30 and older; counseling for sexually-transmitted infections; and HIV screening and counseling.

This means there will be no co-pay, no co-insurance and no deductible charges for these services! Annual health insurance policies that begin on or after August 1, 2012, are required to include these benefits, and any plans and issuing companies that have not received special clearance are also required to cover these services.

This wonderful news comes on the heels of last summer’s new insurance market rules under the ACA, which provided for mammograms, cervical cancer screening, prenatal care, colonoscopies, blood pressure checks and childhood immunizations at no charge, along with ACA recommended Medicare-related free preventive services.

In addition to the ACA’s benefits already in effect (and including allowed parental coverage for millions of youth 26 and under), these new benefits for women are a huge step forward in providing quality health care for everyone. Find more information at Healthcare.gov, managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The League of Women Voters worked hard to help pass the ACA. We cheered when the House passed ACA and when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in its favor in June. Today, we applaud HRSA’s new guidelines for women’s preventive health care, a big step forward for women’s health!