Study: ObamaCare saves women $1.4B on birth control


Women have saved an estimated $1.4 billion per year on birth control medication since ObamaCare’s requirement for free contraception took effect, a new study finds. 

{mosads}The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, finds out-of-pocket spending on the pill declined by about half from the beginning of 2012 to the beginning of 2013, after the health law’s requirement took effect. 

Average out-of-pocket spending on the pill fell from $245 per six-month period to $117. That works out to each pill user saving $255 a year. 

The savings multiplied by the roughly 7 million pill users yields the total of $1.4 billion in savings. 

There were similar benefits for users of intrauterine devices, who saved $248 per user per year. 

While the Affordable Care Act generally requires contraception to be free to the patient, that requirement does not apply to every form of birth control. There have also been studies showing some insurance companies were simply not following the requirement in every respect, helping to explain why out-of-pocket spending has fallen but is not at zero. 

In May, the Obama administration moved to clarify the rules and told insurers that they have to cover at least one version of each of 18 federally approved birth control methods. 

ObamaCare’s contraception mandate has been controversial, drawing lawsuits from religious groups concerned that they are being forced to violate their beliefs. 

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) has led a group of Senate Republicans in proposing a bill that encourages birth control to be sold over the counter, looking to fulfill a promise from his close campaign last year. 

The proposal has drawn criticism from Democrats, such as Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), who have warned that being able to buy birth control without a prescription is little help if it is too expensive. Murray, who has a bill to ensure that insurance companies still cover birth control at no cost to the patient, even if it is being purchased over the counter, issued a statement cheering the findings.

“It’s great news that as a result of progress made in the Affordable Care Act, women across the country have more affordable access to critical health care like birth control. This is good for women, it’s good for our country, and it’s progress we need to continue to build on going forward,” she said.

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