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Health Insurance: Should Birth Control Be Free?

Posted Jul 20 2011 7:07pm

Many health insurance companies cover the cost of birth control pills, but not all of them.  This has been a big debate in health care for many years and the argument continues with health care reform.  A recent report for the US government from the Institute of Medicine recommends that women receive free prescription birth control.  This is part of an official report for the US Department of Health and Human Services which also includes eight other services to help support women’s well being.  Of the recommendations, free birth control is spurring the most controversy, which is to be expected.

The article “Women Should Get Free Prescription Birth Control, Report Says” by Catherine Paddock, PhD on Medical News Today goes into the details of the report.  This report confirms what many have been trying to bring attention to and this is the lack of preventative services available to women at minimal costs.  Women typically end up paying more out of pocket because of gender specific conditions, including pregnancy, and this makes a lot of preventative care unaffordable for struggling women.

The report has numerous recommendations, one of which says health plans should cover all contraceptive methods that have been approved by the FDA, including sterilization and counseling.  This would also include ongoing education made available to women about their health and well-being.  This can help prevent unwanted pregnancies and help women understand the risks associated with having pregnancies very close together.  The Institute of Medicine says that unintended pregnancies account for about 50% of pregnancies in the US as of 2001 and they are hoping through education this number can change.  Big changes are being worked out throughout women’s health care including affordable health insurance with maternity coverage for all.

Written by Sam Tabes

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