Affordable Care Act in effect, free health benefits for millions of women -- including contraceptives

August 1, 2012 7:28:42 PM PDT
Beginning today, the Affordable Care Act, known to many as "Obamacare" requires health insurance plans to provide eight preventive health benefits to women for free -- with no deductible or out of pocket payment.

The Department of Health and Human Services estimates 47 million women are in health plans that must offer the new benefits.

The benefits include contraceptives, breast-feeding supplies, screenings for sexually transmitted infections and counseling for domestic violence. They also include routine breast and pelvic exams, pap tests and prenatal care.

And, because the list includes contraceptives, the Catholic League has denounced August 1 as "D-Day for religious freedom in America."

Religious institutions have a one-year grace period to negotiate different rules with the federal government, and those negotiations are not yet complete.

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