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On ACA Anniversary, Planned Parenthood Celebrates Health and Economic Benefits of the Law’s Birth Control Benefit

Stands Strong in Commitment to Ensure Every Woman – No Matter Where She Lives or Who Her Boss Is – Has Access to No Co-Pay Birth Control

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Planned Parenthood Federation of America

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WASHINGTON — In advance of Saturday’s third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s enactment, Planned Parenthood Federation of America released the following statements and key statistics celebrating the tremendous health and economic benefits that access to no co-pay birth control makes for women and their families. Evidence-based studies demonstrate that access to the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing – as provided by the Affordable Care Act – leads to significantly lower rates of unintended pregnancy. Despite that, some anti-women’s health politicians and bosses are still fighting to deny women access to affordable birth control.

“The Affordable Care Act is the single biggest advancement in women’s health in a generation and is already making a big difference in the lives of women across the country. Women of all walks of life are starting to get both birth control and important well-woman checkups at no cost for the first time,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand how important the Affordable Care Act is to women. When women have access to the full range of birth control options without a co-pay, they benefit, their families benefit, and we all benefit. That is why we’re so pleased that the Obama administration has been clear that insurance companies must cover the full range of FDA-approved types of birth control.  We will continue our work to ensure that all women – no matter where they live or who their boss is – have access to these benefits,” said Richards. 

Last month, the Obama administration reaffirmed the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit that ensures that women can access no co-pay birth control as part of basic health care.  In addition, the administration issued guidance to insurance companies clarifying that the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives must be covered by this benefit, including barrier methods, hormonal methods, and implanted devices such as IUDs.  This guidance will help ensure that women can access the birth control method that best suits them.   

As part of this ongoing effort, Planned Parenthood Federation of America launched the “Birth Control: We All Benefit” campaign to remind Americans and their elected representatives that we all benefit when women have access to affordable birth control.  Approximately 47 million women nationally  stand to benefit from the Affordable Care Act’s women’s preventive health care provision, including no co-pay birth control. Already, an estimated 26,947,000 women nationally are benefiting from the women’s preventive services provision which went into effect last August.  Every year, more than 750 Planned Parenthood health centers nationwide see nearly three million patients — two million specifically for birth control information and services.

“I am a graduate student who is working on my PhD in cancer biology. As a graduate student we have a small stipend and have poor health insurance. However, with the Affordable Care Act, now I am able to get my long-acting Mirena without a co-pay – saving me up to $700! Thanks to birth control, I am able to continue my schooling and further our knowledge about cancer formation.”  – Shelly, 27, Salt Lake City, UT

“I've been on birth control pills since I was 17 when I started developing ovarian cysts. I now have endometriosis. I wish people understood that for some people these pills are vital whether they are sexually active or not. Birth control pills may be preventing me from having surgery.  Even with insurance I was paying about $400 a year. I also have other health problems and doctors bills to deal with. When I was surprised by my pharmacist and told I was suddenly paying $0 I was thrilled! It's nice to get a break.” – Elaine, 29, Knoxville, TN

“I am saving $180 a year. As a 20-something with other medical bills, that makes a huge difference, and it’s a relief to know that I have one less expenditure.” – Ava, 28, Philadelphia, PA

BACKGROUND

  • Birth control has helped improve maternal and infant health.  When women plan their pregnancies, they are more likely to access prenatal care, ultimately improving their own health and the health of their children. 
  • Public polling finds overwhelming support for women’s access to birth control. Seven in ten Americans (70 percent) believe that health insurance companies should be required to cover the full cost of birth control, just as they do for other preventive services, according to an October 2012 poll by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
  • Women use birth control for a wide range of health related reasons. A report on the overlooked benefits of oral contraceptives from the Gutmacher Institute found that while the most common reason women use the pill is to prevent pregnancy, 58 percent of pill users also cite non-contraceptive health benefits as a contributing factor. 
  • Birth control reduces unintended pregnancy. Additionally, the Contraceptive CHOICE study led by the Washington University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology demonstrated that access to birth control counseling, drugs, and devices without cost-sharing — as promised in the Affordable Care Act — leads to significantly lower rates of unintended pregnancy. 
  • Access to birth control is not just a health issue, it’s an economic issue. A 2010 survey found that more than a third of female voters have struggled to afford prescription birth control at some point in their lives, and as a result, used birth control inconsistently.  This isn’t surprising considering co-pays for birth control pills typically range between $15 and $50 per month — up to $600 per year.  Other methods, such as IUDs, can cost several hundred dollars, even with health insurance.
  • Birth control expands opportunities for women. A 2012 report from the Guttmacher Institute confirmed that women use contraception to better achieve their life goals, with the majority of participants reporting that contraception has had a significant impact on their lives, allowing them to take better care of themselves or their families (63 percent), support themselves financially (56 percent), complete their education (51 percent), or keep or get a job (50 percent).  Other reasons for using contraception, reported by a majority of respondents, include not being ready to have children (63 percent), feeling that using birth control gives them better control over their lives (60 percent), and wanting to wait until their lives are more stable to have a baby (60 percent).
  • Birth control has helped women move closer to economic equity. Research finds that availability of the pill is responsible for a third of women’s wage increases relative to men. By the 1980s and ’90s, the women who had early access to the pill were making eight percent more each year than those who did not.

Published

March 22, 2013

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On ACA Anniversary, Planned Parenthood Celebrates Health and Economic Benefits of the Law’s Birth Control Benefit