Regulation

House Dems call on HHS for 12-month supplies of birth control

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House Democrats are urging the Department of Health and Human Services to issue new rules that would require health insurance companies to cover a one-time, 12-month supply of birth control without cost-sharing.

In a letter sent Thursday, Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) asked HHS to use its existing authority to change the way insurance companies cover birth control prescriptions.

Many health insurance companies now limit their coverage, without cost-sharing, to a one- or three-month supply of birth control, which experts say can lead to unwanted gaps in birth control use and an increased incidence of unintended pregnancies.

“Birth control has helped give women the freedom to decide when they want to start a family, and providing a 12-month supply ensures that women can plan long-term rather than for a few months at a time,” Speier said. “Women today are often busy with work and managing child care, which makes picking up a monthly prescription impractical.” 

Citing a study from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Speier said the odds of pregnancy decrease by 30 percent for women who received a full year’s worth of pills at one time, compared to women who received either one or three months of pills at a time.

Oregon and the District of Columbia have passed 12-month dispensing laws, and New York has added a similar measure to its women’s health/contraceptive bill package. California and Washington State are considering similar measures.

Tags Birth control Health insurance Jackie Speier Population Pregnancy Science Social Issues Suzanne Bonamici Unintended pregnancy

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