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US Department of Health and Human Services Issue New Guidelines for Screening Mammography

Posted on Jul 15, 2010

The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and the Treasury issued new regulations today, requiring new private health plans to cover evidence-based preventive services and eliminate cost sharing requirements for such services.

Evidence-based preventive services: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of scientific experts, rates preventive services based on the strength of the scientific evidence documenting their benefits. Preventive services with a “grade” of A or B, like breast and colon cancer screenings, will be covered under these rules. Regarding screening mammography, the HHS announcement specifically uses the USPSTF's guidelines from 2002, which recommend that mammography screening begin at age 40. The task force's controversial guidelines from November 2009, recommending that screening begin at 50, were labeled as "not considered to be current" in the new HHS rules.

The announcement carries out provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed earlier this year that were designed to support disease prevention, according to HHS.

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