The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) added preventive services for women, recommended by the IOM, to healthcare coverage requirements beginning in August 2011.
The current review provides evidence on the economic impact of services that will be covered under the ACA, focusing on IOM-recommended measures that address women's health.
This review analyzed the cost-effectiveness literature related to these services using the Tufts Medical Center Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Registry (www.cearegistry.org), which catalogs detailed information on cost-effectiveness studies published in English in the peer-reviewed literature. In order to keep the review relevant to current clinical practice, the analysis was restricted to studies published in 2000–2010. The data search and analysis were performed in 2011.
Cost-effectiveness studies have evaluated a limited subset of the preventive measures available for women. Further, few cost-effectiveness studies have evaluated the recommended counseling and screening services for women. Of 16 relevant studies found, eight focused on HIV screening, with results varying substantially depending on the specific groups screened and the screening frequency.
The current review underscores the finding that there is a substantial gap in the health economic literature on preventive care, especially with respect to screening and counseling of women in the primary care setting. There is some evidence that better access to preventive services can be maintained at a reasonable cost to the healthcare system, and that certain services may even lower healthcare costs.