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Monday, August 1, 2011

Obama Administration Requires Zero Copay for Birth Control

In a historic decision announced today, the Obama administration has required health insurance plans to cover the cost of birth control without copayments from patients. The rule will likely go into effect in January 2013.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the new rule, after the Institute of Medicine, a leading medical advisory panel, recommended that contraceptives be included as part of women’s preventive health care.

In addition to birth control, insurance providers will be required to pay for breast pumps, HIV testing, annual physicals, screening for domestic violence, counseling for breastfeeding, and other procedures that qualify as “preventive healthcare” services. Insurance premiums are expected to rise to cover the increased costs to insurance companies.

The requirement will only apply to insurance plans designed on or after Aug. 1, 2012. A provision in the new rule also allows some employers to opt out of the requirement on grounds of religion.

Sebelius called the guidelines “historic” and “based on science.” Previously there has never been an established set of guidelines for women’s health and preventive care, and according to the Institute, almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended; 40% of them end in abortion.

Expanding access to contraceptives is critical for women’s health and rights, not just in the United States, but in developing countries across the world. Currently, EngenderHealth works to improve and expand access to quality family planning services, with a focus on long-acting and permanent methods in Africa and Southeast Asia.


pancakesandsunshine said...

WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!!! I love my president!!

Terms of Life said...

This is indeed historic. I am all for abortion but I'm not sure some tax payers (namely Christians) will be willing to allow their money to go towards something they feel unethical. I'd love to see how this pans out. Please keep the updates coming.

Tom said...

Great article as well as great post...

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