All student health care plans covering female college students in the United States must include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery, the Department of Health and Human Services announced late Friday afternoon.
Women of college age who do not attend school will also get free sterilization coverage whether they are insured through an employer, their parents, or some form of government-subsidized plan.
All student health plans, HHS said Friday as it finalized a new regulation under the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) must cover the full set of cost-free women’s “preventive services” that HHS ordered last month must be covered by all U.S. health care plans.
These free “preventive services” include surgical sterilization procedures and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions.
“These preventive health services include, with respect to women, preventive care and screening provided for in the comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) that were issued on August 1, 2011,” HHS said in a request for comments about how the new regulation will be implemented.
“As relevant here, the HRSA Guidelines require coverage, without cost sharing, for ‘[a]ll Food and Drug Administration [(FDA)] approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity,’ as prescribed by a provider,” said the HHS description of the regulation, which will be published in the March 21 edition of the Federal Register.
In announcing the rule for college-based health plans, HHS said it would follow the same system for enforcing the rule on religious colleges and universities that object to purchasing sterilizations, contraceptives and antiabortionists for its students that President Barack Obama has proposed for enforcing the regulation on religious non-profit organizations in the coverage for their employees: The insurer will be forced to provide the sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients to the students free of charge.