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Are mammograms and pelvic exams covered?

Question: What preventive care measures are covered for women under most health insurance plans? Are mammograms and pelvic exams covered? How about contraceptives?

Brooke, New Hampshire

Answer: Dear Brooke,

While fully insured group health plans are as different as the employers that sponsor them and the states that regulate them, most do cover preventive mammograms and pelvic exams.

Many health plans, however, do not cover contraceptives. Only 15 percent of large group insurers cover the five most common reversible forms of contraception — oral contraceptives, diaphragms, Depo Provera, intra-uterine devices (IUDs), and Norplant — according to the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy.

Seventeen states have passed contraceptive-equity legislation that improves women's access to contraceptive coverage. Women who are covered under these "pill bills" can get health insurance payments for the costs of contraceptive prescriptions and services to the same extent that other medical prescriptions and services are covered. For more information, see Pill bills: States that mandate contraceptive equality.

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Disclaimer: We are journalists, not financial planners or insurance brokers. Nothing we say should be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell any insurance product, or to provide other financial or legal advice.

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