The Legislature finds that the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology is devoted to primary and preventive health care of women throughout their lifetime. Significant numbers of women view their obstetrician and gynecologist as their primary or only physician. For many women, an obstetrician or gynecologist is often the only physician they see regularly during their reproductive years. A general medical examination was the second most frequently cited purpose for patient visits to obstetricians and gynecologists in 1989 and 1990. Obstetricians and gynecologists refer their patients less frequently than other primary care physicians, thus avoiding costly and time consuming referrals to specialists. Accordingly, it is the intent of the Legislature that women enrolled or covered by health benefit plans have direct access to the services of a participating obstetrician or a participating gynecologist.