A new study from the Guttmacher Institute shows a surge in the proportion of privately insured women who did not pay co-pays or any additional charges for their birth control. After the Affordable Care Act’s provision guaranteeing no additional cost-sharing on preventive health services – and after a long battle to make sure birth control would be included under that list of services – the proportion of users obtaining their birth control pills and vaginal rings without co-pays has risen from 15% to 40% for pills, and from 23% to 52% for vaginal rings. No significant change was found among users of injectable contraceptives or IUDs.
The authors of the study suggest that this sharp rise is indicative of the demand for these services, but warn that not all insurance companies are complying with the new rule:
“Unfortunately, anecdotal evidence from media reports and from health insurance companies’ own publicly available documents suggests that some plans are improperly requiring patient cost-sharing in circumstances where they shouldn’t,” says [Adam] Sonfield, who also authored a related policy analysis. “This is unacceptable, and state and federal policymakers should step up enforcement as needed.”
But it’s not exactly over – the Supreme Court recently announced that it would review two challenges to the requirement to include birth control coverage in health insurance. Additionally, many women are and will continue to be left out of receiving the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, including undocumented women and those in states where Medicaid is not planning an expansion.
Verónica can’t believe we’re having a national conversation about the controversy of birth control.