Obama Administration Issues Requirements for Preventive Care Coverage, Including Behavioral Health Screening

by Rebecca Farley on July 27, 2010

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued guidelines for insurance plans on required preventive coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The new law mandated that insurers cover certain preventive services at no cost to beneficiaries but did not provide a full list of such services. The recently issued regulations specify that beginning on or after Sept. 23, 2010, new plans must cover preventive services with a grade of A or B from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, including the following behavioral health services:
  • Screening for Depression for adults and adolescents
  • Tobacco Use Screening and Intervention
  • Alcohol Misuse Screening and Counseling
  • Behavioral Assessments for children of all ages
A full list of the covered preventive services is available online. These regulations do not apply to existing plans, which are exempt from the requirement under a grandfather clause in the health reform law. However, other recently issued regulations place limitations on how much a plan can change and still be exempt from the requirements of the law. HHS estimates that the changes will affect coverage for 41 million individuals next year and 88 million individuals by 2013.
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