Should Health Insurers Be Required to Offer Free Contraceptives?

Filed under: In The News

contraceptives

It's unclear whether the health care bill includes free contraceptives. Credit: Getty Images

The health care bill is a hot topic these days, and a story in The New York Times today says that the bill requires health insurers to cover "preventive health services." But does that include free contraceptives?

Some say yes, others no. The Times article does a very good job of breaking down both sides of the argument, and I recommend reading the whole thing. There isn't space here to break it all down, but here are a couple of highlights:

  • The question on the table is whether or not "preventive health services" include contraceptives and other family planning services for women. The Obama administration has asked a "panel of outside experts" to make initial recommendations on this matter "so the public would see them as based on science, not politics," according to The Times.
  • Some conservative and religious groups feel that anything done to prevent pregnancy should not be considered "preventive health services" because, as Deirdre A. McQuade, a spokeswoman for the bishops' Pro-Life Secretariat tells The Times, "Pregnancy is not a disease to be prevented, nor is fertility a pathological condition."

In addition to the moral and political hot button portions of this topic is the fact that the new law requires health insurers to offer preventive health services without cost -- not even a copay. For example, birth control pills currently cost between $45 and $60 a month, according to The Times, and with copays, many women are forced to pay half of that out of pocket.

To stave off any fears that this will become a reality anytime soon, the panel is supposed to present only recommendations in August. Again, this is a big topic, but the question on the table is a fairly basic one: Should health insurers be required to offer free contraceptives? What do you think?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.