- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 22, 2010

New health insurance policies beginning on or after Sept. 23 must cover _ without charge _ preventive care that’s backed up by the best scientific evidence. Most people will see this benefit, part of the Obama administration’s health care overhaul, starting Jan. 1.

The list includes tests strongly recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent advisory panel that evaluates research.

Of note for men: Screening for prostate cancer isn’t included on the list because its benefits haven’t been conclusively shown by the best research, at least to the high level required by the law.

Of note to women: Those in their 40s and at average risk for breast cancer can get a mammogram every one to two years as part of the free preventive care. That’s in line with American Cancer Society advice. But it’s more generous than the Preventive Services Task Force, which says most women don’t need mammograms in their 40s.

Many employer-based plans won’t be affected by these new requirements if they are “grandfathered” under the health overhaul law. But as those plans make substantial changes they’ll lose their grandfathered status and then have to meet the requirements.

Here are some of the preventive services that many people won’t have to pay for out-of-pocket, according to federal health officials.

For adults:

_Abdominal aortic aneurysm one-time screening for men of certain ages who have ever smoked.

_Alcohol misuse screening and counseling.

_Blood pressure screening.

_Cholesterol screening for adults of certain ages or at higher risk.

_Colorectal cancer screening for adults over 50.

_Depression screening.

_Type 2 diabetes screening for adults with high blood pressure.

_Obesity screening and counseling.

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