Breaking: IOM recommends free birth control under health care reform law

Since the health care reform bill passed, we’ve been waiting to see what services the law would require health insurance companies cover as “preventive care.” Anything considered preventive care would have to covered without any extra cost or co-pays to the individual.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) was asked to make a recommendation to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in regards to what should be considered preventive care, and today the news that they are recommending that birth control and contraception be covered as preventive care. According to The Hill:

The IOM said “the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling” should be covered for “all women with reproductive capacity.”

It also recommends coverage for annual HIV tests for sexually active women, annual counseling on other sexually transmitted diseases and — for women older than 30 — testing for the human papillomavirus.

Screenings for domestic violence also should be covered, the IOM said.

This is an important win for reproductive health in the health care reform law, and would guarantee access to free contraception for people who are insured. It’s also important that they included coverage for HIV and HPV testing, as well as domestic violence screening.

IOM’s statement is simply a recommendation though, and we have to wait and see if HHS will adopt the recommendations as part of the law set to go into effect in 2014. This seems likely, but there is still that last step.

You can flip through the full report here.

Join the Conversation

  • Conor

    Excellent news. Let’s hope this bears some fruit.

  • Callie

    About time too, although it should be for EVERYONE, not just those who are insured. Come on, keep up.

    • Elysia

      Not everyone with health insurance has birth control “covered” – in fact the health insurance plan my husband and I have is “tailored” to individuals not looking to have children BUT MY ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES ARE NOT COVERED UNDER MY INSURANCE PLAN!!! Absurd! Regardless, this FANTASTIC news! 8)

  • Justyn Hintze

    Hey everyone!
    I AM SO EXCITED :):) This is hugely important for the feminist movement.

    Choice USA actually has a campaign, prevent-a-pact, that we’re gathering signatures for to show that we do have support that birth control is preventative, and we want HHS to recognize that. Please, please take one moment to sign the petition and pass it on. No-cost birth control is the goal!!!

    GO TO: to sign in support of no-cost BC for everyone!

  • Carolyn

    This is pretty extraordinary. I remember when I wanted to go on Nuva Ring because my oral bc was giving me strange side effects, I stopped after a month because of the ridiculous cost. This is a great counter to all of the Planned Parenthood defunding that’s been going on lately as well. As I work with teenage girls, I can’t help but wonder how these suggestions with affect them. I hope that free contraception will be available for every person regardless of gender or age, but I suspect that many would unfortunately disagree.

  • Critter

    Awesome! Birth control is a basic, fundamental HUMAN RIGHT.