Insurance Companies Might Have to Offer Free Birth Control

In a move that I suspect a lot of women (and men) would strongly support, the Obama administration is trying to figure out whether the health care bill can be used to force insurance companies to offer free birth control and other contraceptive services. The law says that these companies must offer “preventive health services,” and a panel of outside experts has been convened to identify specific services that must be offered for women.

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Because about half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, many women’s health advocates have argued that contraceptives definitely fall into this category.  There are many obvious benefits: reducing infant mortality, pregnancy complications, and maternal and child health, and most of all, women are able to control their own sexuality without having to juggle cost.  The Department of Health and Human Services expects to release guidelines by August 1.

In another revolutionary move, legislators may require “annual checkups and health assessments known as well-woman visits; screening for domestic violence, heart disease and breast and cervical cancer; and doctor visits for women intending to become pregnant.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics supported the move, saying, “Adolescents and adult women need to have access to the full menu of contraceptive methods without cost-sharing.”  The move is supported by a host of nonprofit organizations, including the ACLU, NARAL, the National Women’s Law Center, and the March of Dimes.

It’s clear that classifying birth control as a form of preventive care would not only improve lives, it would save money.  And it would also be a giant step for women’s rights.  Brand-name birth control can cost as much as $60 a month, which can be an insurmountable obstacle.  It would be extraordinary, but also long overdue, for the government to require insurers to provide these essential services for free.

Photo from nateOne via Flickr.


Susanne R.
Susanne R4 years ago

If a woman makes a decision to use birth control, or if her doctor recommends its use for health purposes, her insurance provider SHOULD cover it! The Catholic church does not have the right to influence such decisions. Those who decide Catholic doctrine have proven themselves incapable of making intelligent decisions when it comes to issues that involve sexual activity. There are countless sexual abuse victims who would attest to that. If men are able to receive coverage for erectile dysfunction drugs, then women should be able to receive coverage for contraceptive drugs. Let's stop the hypocrisy and treat women with the respect they deserve! And considering the track record of the all-male priesthood, it's time that women were allowed to assume a more authoritative role in the Catholic church. For the church hierarchy to continue to deny women a voice in church doctrine is hypocrisy at its worst!

Aaron Gallo4 years ago

I'm willing to pay a little bit more taxes if it means, there would be less unwanted children coming into this world. Some pro-life people say "well the parents should just give their child up for adoption after it's born if they don't want it." EASIER SAID THAN DONE, and another thing there are already thousands of children in foster care that would LOVE to be adopted!

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

noted and thanx for post

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

Too many people think it's wrong. But, if prevention is worth a pound of cure, it's better for people to work on themselves before having families to complicate things.

Petra Luna
Petra Luna7 years ago

In this age where child abuse runs rampant, pregnancy prevention has to be a must. And men need to be half responsible, because "the Pill" isn't 100% effective, and won't prevent STD's.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

There could not be a clearer definition of preventative care, than birth control. DUH. That's what it's for, to prevent pregnancies when having sex. It has infuriated me, since I was 18, (and now I'm 66) that it wasn't covered by insurance. Oh, but let's help out the men, and cover Viagra!!! DOUBLE-DUH!!!

Karla Haywood
Karla Haywood7 years ago

@ Lindsey DTSW:

You said that "Birth control pills (in the vast majority of cases) aren't being used to treat a medical condition - they're being used to prevent the body from working in a natural fashion" and that may be true. However, people still SHOULD NOT ASSUME that ALL females who are on bc are on it just to prevent a pregnancy. I have uterine fibroids and being on the pill has helped me we tremendously with the symptoms of excessive and heavy bleeding, severe cramping, and severe abdominal pain. I seriously would hate to know what my life would be like now if I WAS NOT on the pill. All I am saying is that those who wish cut off access to birth control SHOULD SERIOUSLY look into the medical and NOT the sexual history of the female who is on the pill or any other form of bc that is being used to help treat a particular medical condition. All of us must keep in mind that just b/c a female is on bc that it means she is having sex, why she is on it is HER business. If that is the case, then why not assume that any male who is taking viagra is only on it just to see how many women he can have sex instead believing that he has ED? Which is as you said, a medical condition.

Carrie Barnett
Carrie B7 years ago

Well, I wouldn't say that even if insurance companies do cover birth control 100% that it is free. If you are paying for your insurance premium now, you are essentually paying for it. I do strongly agree that birth control should be 100% covered by all insurances, whether they term it as preventative care or whatever the label. It would definately save money in the long run, and allow easier access for couples to have family planning.

Empress Ginger
Ginger Strivelli7 years ago

it is cheaper than paying for pregnancy care or abortions so it makes sense for them. I think birth control should be free anyway....anything to cut down on the terrible number of abortions.

Edith B.
Edith B7 years ago

About time! And Lindsey, we also pay when children who are unwanted are born, in medical bills, foster care,and social workers who intervene. A birth control pill is much cheaper.