A federal health list specifically guarantees some women’s health coverage available without a copay or deductible, so what about men’s health? And what options are available for coverage for people who travel frequently? Here are the answers to some recent questions from readers.
Why aren’t there preventive health recommendations for men like there are for women under the health law? Women and breast cancer get so much attention by the health care community. Heart health, diabetes, prostate cancer and colon cancer are a few examples of opportunities for education and preventive screening for men.
There are many recommendations for men’s preventive care in the health law, although most of the examples you mention apply to women as well. Under the law, services recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force have to be provided without charging people anything out of pocket. The independent panel of medical experts currently recommends that women and men be screened for high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and for colorectal cancer.
It advises against routinely screening men for prostate cancer, however, noting that research hasn’t shown it reduces death from the disease. (Medicare covers an annual prostate cancer test, but you may owe a copayment.)
The drafters of the health law paid special attention to women’s preventive health needs, creating additional recommendations tailored specifically for them. This was done in part to address recognized gaps in women’s services, especially in the areas of sexual and reproductive health, said Adam Sonfield, senior policy manager at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research and policy organization.
The federal government is in the process of updating the women’s preventive health guidelines. If it adopts the working group recommendations this fall, insurers will begin to cover condoms and vasectomies
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