As Sarah noted last week, the Institute of Medicine released a report that recommends, among other things, that birth control be considered preventative medicine – and rightly so. As the Atlantic Wire points out, “Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended, and about 40 percent of unwanted pregnancies end in abortion.” Increased birth control access can prevent unintended pregnancies, and decrease the need for abortion. As a result, the IOM is advocating that birth control be available at no cost to women as a part of the implementation of the health care reform package.
No co-pay birth control is seriously overdue, ya’ll. NPR reports that, “98 percent of sexually active women will use contraception at some point during their reproductive years, and that cost concerns are frequently cited as a reason for inconsistent use or use of a less then optimal method.” That is because women currently pay between $15 and $50 a month in co-pays for birth control pills — which equals $180 to $600 a year! Consequently, more than one-third of all women have struggled to pay for prescription birth control at some point in their lives.
Just to clarify, the IOM recommendations will not be the equivalent of “free” birth control – the IOM recommendations simply state that birth control should be available without a co-pay price. Women will still have to pay their insurance premiums. However, as an article in Colorlines states, “the women who plunk down about $5 to $50 a month for, say, the Pill are already paying their insurance premiums. This would just lighten their financial load.” [Read more...]