Beginning today, an estimated 47 million American women gain access to eight prevention-related health-care services without having to pay more out of their own pockets, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced.

Previously, some insurance companies did not cover these preventive services for women at all under their health plans, while some women were required to pay deductibles or copayments. Among the preventive services insurers must now cover at no charge are well-woman visits; gestational diabetes screening for pregnant women; contraceptives; domestic violence counseling; breast-feeding support; and screening for sexually transmitted diseases.

In Iowa, HHS estimates that nearly 520,000 women in the state will benefit from one or more of these preventive services.

The new requirements, enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, are mandatory for all new health plans.

Group health plans and issuers that have maintained grandfathered status are not required to cover these services.

In addition, certain nonprofit religious organizations, such as churches and schools, are not required to cover these services.