BOSTON - Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) today commended the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) decision to include the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods as a women’s preventive health service. This HHS designation will enable women covered in new plans created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to obtain contraception without the financial burden of co-pays or cost sharing.
“As the largest family planning provider in the state, PPLM is committed to reducing unintended pregnancies,” said PPLM President and CEO, Dianne Luby. “Ensuring that women will have access to prescription birth control without costly co-pays will certainly help us to reduce unintended pregnancies and improve health outcomes for women and children.”
The HHS decision comes on the heels of recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), which recognized prescription birth control as a women’s preventive health service. The IOM – an independent, nonpartisan organization of health care professionals – was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider what types of services should qualify as preventive under the Women’s Health Amendment to the ACA.
In addition to birth control, the HHS designated several other services as women’s preventive health services, including: annual well-woman preventive visits, screening for cervical cancer/HPV, counseling for sexually transmitted infections, counseling and screening for HIV, screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence, breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling and screening for gestational diabetes.
Luby acknowledged reports that the Administration is still considering the inclusion of a proposal that would restrict coverage. “The HHS decision is based on scientific and medical evidence, not partisan politics and religious ideologies. Consideration of any proposal to limit this new protection for any women is out of step with mainstream American priorities and is dangerous to women’s health. PPLM and its national office are committed to comprehensive health care coverage for all women, regardless of their insurance or their employer.”
On average, a woman spends 30 years of her life trying to prevent pregnancy.
Co-pays for birth control pills typically range between $15 and $50 per month. Other methods, such as IUDs, often cost several hundred dollars, even with health insurance.
According to a recent Thomson Reuters-NPR Health poll, 77 percent of Americans believe that private medical insurance should provide no-cost birth control and 74 percent believe that government-sponsored plans should do the same.