Is birth control covered by your insurance? Are you concerned about the cost of birth control? When it comes to the facts on birth control coverage, here’s what you need to know.
1. You have rights as a patient.
When it comes to accessing birth control, you gotta know your rights! Planned Parenthood health centers are here to help everyone get the birth control they need — no matter where you’re from or what your citizenship status is. The following guidance aims to support patients and their families in being aware of their rights as immigrants.
2. Americans support including birth control under health insurance plans as preventive health care.
Birth control use is nearly universal. Ninety-nine percent of all sexually experienced women and 98% of sexually experienced Catholic women have used it at some point in their lives.
Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, most health insurance companies have been required to cover birth control at no copay in their plans. The birth control mandate finally made this essential health care service affordable. But the ACA and its birth control coverage mandate have been under attack by anti-birth control politicians.
- Fifty-six percent of voters support the ACA birth control coverage benefit, including 53% of Catholic voters and 62% of Catholics who identify themselves as independents, according to a Public Policy Polling Poll.
- Sixty-five percent of Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996) believe that employer health insurance coverage should include birth control at no cost.
3. Access to birth control improves the health of women and their families.
There’s a reason birth control was included as preventive health care — a panel of doctors recommended it. The nonpartisan Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommended that birth control be covered as women’s preventive care because it is fundamental to improving not only women’s health, but the health of their families as well. Medical research has demonstrated this fact for decades. Improved access to birth control is directly linked to declines in maternal and infant mortality.
4. Birth control has had a profound and positive impact on women’s lives.
According to a Guttmacher study, a majority of women say birth control allowed them to take better care of themselves or their families (63%), support themselves financially (56%), complete their education (51%), or keep or get a job (50%).
5. People struggle with the cost of birth control.
This is not just a health issue, it’s an economic issue. The cost of birth control, with or without insurance, can take a toll on a person’s bank account.
- More than a third of female voters have struggled to afford prescription birth control at some point in their lives, and as a result, used birth control inconsistently.
- This isn’t surprising considering co-pays for birth control pills typically range between $15 and $50 per month. That adds up to over $600 per year. Other methods, such as IUDs, can cost several hundred dollars, even with health insurance.
6. Any expansion of refusal policies and restrictive birth control rules could deny millions of people access to birth control.
Anti-birth control politicians have tried to enact rules that promote employers’ religious beliefs over workers’ ability to access affordable birth control. The rules would make it easier for employers to opt out of the ACA’s requirement to provide birth control coverage in their employer-sponsored insurance plans.
- Taking away the benefit of copay-free birth control coverage would affect all people who need birth control — including Catholics and non-Catholics. The people who stand to lose birth control coverage without the ACA’s benefit includes nearly 800,000 people who work for Catholic hospitals and receive these benefits through their employer-sponsored health insurance plans. (The Catholic-affiliated system is so large, one in six Americans gets care there.)
- Approximately two million students and workers at universities with religious affiliations.
- Forty three percent of students at Catholic universities and colleges are not Catholic.
What this adds up to: millions of hardworking Americans losing access to this critical benefit.
7. Failing to provide birth control coverage is sex discrimination.
Prescription contraceptives are used exclusively by people with female reproductive systems. Failure to provide coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices in health plans that otherwise cover prescription drugs violates the Civil Rights Act because it singles out women. By treating medication needed for a pregnancy-related condition less favorably, failure to cover birth control constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex.