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Survey: Nearly Three in Four Voters in America Support Fully Covering Prescription Birth Control
Planned Parenthood Kicks Off Effort to Demonstrate Support for Covering All FDA-approved Prescription Contraception Under New Health Insurance Plans,
with No Co-pay or Out-of-Pocket Costs to Women
Washington, DC— Nearly three-fourths of American voters (71 percent) believe insurers should be required to fully cover the birth control pill and other forms of prescription contraception as they will be required to do for other preventive health care services under the new health care reform law, according to new data released today.
In addition, the survey found that access to affordable birth control is a serious issue. The survey reports that one in three women voters (34 percent) have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control at some point in their lives. For young adult women, who are most likely to experience an unintended pregnancy, more than half (55 percent) experienced a time when they could not afford to use birth control consistently.
The survey, conducted by Hart Research Associates and commissioned by Planned Parenthood Action Fund, found overwhelming and widespread public support for national policies that would provide prescription birth control approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at no cost to all women with health insurance.
As part of the Affordable Care Act, new health insurance plans are required to cover women’s preventive health care services with no co-pays to their members. The Women’s Health Amendment was included in the final legislation as a way to address gaps in women’s health care, and the law leaves it to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to define what specific preventive benefits will be covered. HHS is expected to release a decision by August 2011 regarding what additional benefits will be covered.
“At Planned Parenthood, we see too many women choosing between birth control and basics like rent, tuition and childcare. Because our country leads the industrialized world in unintended and teen pregnancy, prescription birth control must be made available at no cost,” said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Making birth control available at no cost makes it possible for women to use the method that works best for them and will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in America.”
Out-of-pocket costs for birth control can be prohibitively expensive for many women, especially those with low-incomes. The high price of birth control can result in women using birth control inconsistently or not at all, often leading to unintended pregnancies. Co-pays for birth control pills typically range from $15 to $50 a month, and co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses for long-term contraception, such as the IUD, cost significantly more upfront.
The survey released today shows that:
• 71 percent of all voters, including men and women, say prescription birth control should be included as preventive health care services, covered without any out-of-pocket costs.
o This includes three in five male voters (60 percent) and four out of five female voters (81 percent).
• Seven in 10 Republican women (72 percent) said that birth control should be included as preventive health care, covered without any out-of-pocket costs.
• 77 percent of Catholic women voters said that birth control should be covered as preventive health care without any out-of-pocket costs.
• One in three women voters (34 percent) report having struggled with the cost of prescription birth control at some point.
o This figure rises dramatically among specific demographic groups:
o 55 percent of women 18–34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control.
o 57 percent of young Latina women 18–34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control.
o 54 percent of young African-American women 18–34 have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control.
“Fully covering prescription birth control makes medical sense, because doing so would help to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and would help to keep women and children healthy,” said Dr. Hal Lawrence, Vice President for Practice Activities, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Women whose pregnancies are unintended are less likely to get prenatal care and are at greater risk for conditions such as premature and low-birth-weight babies.”
To raise awareness about the importance of making prescription birth control available at no cost under the new health care reform law, Planned Parenthood is launching Birth Control Matters, www.birthcontrolmatters.org, — an effort to make no-cost prescription birth control available so that all women can use the method that works best for them and to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.
The poll data presented today is based on a survey of 1,147 voters and was completed in July 2010.
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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. Planned Parenthood affiliates operate more than 825 health centers nationwide, providing medical services and sexuality education for millions of women, men, and teenagers each year. We also work with allies worldwide to ensure that all women and men have the right and the means to meet their sexual and reproductive health care needs.