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WASHINGTON, DC — The birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) only works if we enforce it and today the Obama administration issued clarifying guidance stating that insurance companies must cover all 18 FDA-approved birth control methods for women without a copay — not a curated selection. Importantly, the guidance also clarifies that plans must provide coverage for contraceptive-related clinical services, including education and counseling. This comes on the heels of troubling reports that some insurance companies have been denying coverage or requiring women to pay out-of-pocket for their birth control, which is against the law and may mean those women have been paying upwards of $600 a year more for their birth control.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“This is a victory for women and the more than 30,000 Planned Parenthood supporters who spoke out to ensure all women, no matter what insurance they have, can access the full range of birth control methods without a copay or other barriers. We know that increased access to birth control has helped bring teen pregnancy rates to a 40-year low and we must continue to drive forward policies that build on this progress. 

“We thank the administration for listening to health care providers and doctors and pushing forward policies that are proven to work and have clear health and economic benefits for women, their families, and their communities.”

You can read reports finding that some insurance companies are in violation of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit from the National Women’s Law Center here and the Kaiser Family Foundation here. You can read important perspectives from medical providers on the critical need for birth control access without barriers here from Deborah Nucatola, MD, senior director of medical services at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Hal C. Lawrence, III, MD, FACOG, executive vice president/CEO of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Contraception is an economic driver for women:

  • Highlighting the fact that birth control is a top economic driver for women, in December 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek listed contraception as one of the most transformational developments in the business sector in the last 85 years.[1] 
  • A study of the long-term effects of access to contraception found that individuals born in the years immediately after the federal family planning programs started were less likely to live in poverty in childhood and adulthood.[2] 
  • Studies have found that access to contraception contributed significantly to more young women obtaining at least some college education and to more college-educated women pursuing advanced professional degrees.[3]
  • For all these reasons, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named family planning, including access to modern contraception, one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.[4] 


[1] Soller, Kurt. (2014, December 4). “The Birth Control Pill Advanced Women's Economic Freedom.” Businessweek. [Online]. http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-12-04/birth-control-pill-advanced-womens-economic-freedom.
[2] Bailey, Martha J., et al. (2014). “Do Family Planning Programs Decrease Poverty? Evidence from Public Census Data.” CESifo Economic Studies, 60(2), 312–337.
[3] Sonfield, Adam et al. (2013). The Social and Economic Benefits of Women’s Ability To Determine Whether and When to Have Children. New York: Guttmacher Institute
[4] CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (1999, December 3). “Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Family Planning.” MMWR, 48(47), 1073-1080.