House Democrats call for 12-month birth control supply with no co-pay

By Danielle Haynes

WASHINGTON, July 2 (UPI) -- House Democrats have asked the Department of Health and Human Services to require insurance companies to provide women with a 12-month supply of birth control at one time with no out-of-pocket costs.

Reps. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., authored a letter signed by 53 other representatives calling for health insurance companies to stop the practice of only allowing women to obtain one- or three-month supplies of contraception at a time. In some cases, any larger quantities of birth control require cost-sharing for the woman.


"The Affordable Care Act finally established that being a woman is no longer a preexisting condition and significantly increased access to preventive healthcare services like contraception, without co-pays," Speier said. "But the fact is that many barriers to preventive care remain. I urge HHS Secretary Burwell to use existing authority to make this simple change that will benefit women, and their families, across the country."

Bonamici said an increased access to birth control would benefit the country both socially and economically.

"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," she said. "Women today are often busy with work and managing child care, which makes picking up a monthly prescription impractical. My home state of Oregon just passed similar legislation, and I join my colleagues in urging the Department of Health and Human Services to require insurance companies to provide coverage for 12-month birth control prescriptions."


A news release from Speier's office cited a study from the University of California San Francisco, which found women who received a full year's supply of birth control pills at one time were 30 percent less likely to get pregnant than women who received pills in one- and three-month increments.

The letter was also supported by the National Women's Law Center, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

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