Three months after the passage of healthcare reform, we’ve started receiving some much more specific questions about healthcare reform as Americans try to absorb how the historic legislation will be impacting their daily lives. And for many women, there is nothing that impacts their daily lives as much as the question of birth control and how to pay for it.
Healthcare Reform and Birth Control
For all of you who have written in asking about healthcare reform and birth control, yes, healthcare reform may make paying for your birth control (whatever method you may use) easier. Starting in September, new health insurance plans are required to include a package of preventive care services in their benefits at no additional cost , and whether birth control will be included in that package of preventive services is currently being debated.
Many women’s health advocates, and some employer groups are pushing for birth control to be included in that package of preventive care that health insurance plans must offer. Employers favor including birth control because the cost of contraception is miniscule (perhaps $50 a month) compared to the medical costs of prenatal care and childbirth.
Although many health insurance plan already cover prescription birth control, co-payments can often strain a young woman’s resources. With co-payments often running up to $50 a month for birth control pills and up to several hundred dollars for longer-term treatments like intrauterine devices (IUDs), bundling birth control in at no additional cost would be a relief for many women.
As would be expected, many conservative and religious groups such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops oppose the movement to require the inclusion of birth control in health insurance plans.
It’s still unclear whether birth control will be included in the list of free covered preventive services. Whether birth control makes the cut for free health insurance coverage will depend on whether the federal Health Resources and Services Administration includes them in their recommendations, and at this point, it looks like that could be as much as a year before their guidelines are released.
Do you think birth control should be required to be included in health insurance coverage? Tell us at the MyHealthCafe.com Forums.
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