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Press Release 07-20-11: PPDE Hails Institute of Medicine Recommendation on Coverage of Prescription Birth Control Without Co-Pays

Proposed Federal Rule Could Help Millions of Women Avoid Unintended Pregnancy

(Wilmington) Planned Parenthood of Delaware today hailed the Institute of Medicine (IOM)’s recommendation on including prescription birth control as a women’s preventive health service, which would be covered without co-pays by new insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act. If adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the policy could eliminate cost barriers that keep many American women from using birth control consistently.

“Delaware has one of the highest unintended pregnancy rates in the country and women, especially young women, struggle every day to afford prescription birth control,” said Nanci Hoffman, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Delaware. “More must be done to provide women access to the contraceptive care they need.”

A 2010 survey by Hart Research found that more than a third of female voters struggled with the cost of prescription birth control at some point in their lives, and as a result, had used birth control inconsistently. On average, a woman spends 30 years of her life trying to prevent pregnancy.

“Covering birth control without co-pays is one of the most important steps we can take to prevent unintended pregnancy and keep women and children healthy,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, Vice President for Medical Affairs at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “The IOM recommendation confirms that prescription birth control, along with other key health care services, such as annual exams and HIV screening and counseling, are critical preventive services that improve the health of communities across the country. These services need to be accessible for women.”

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 Brookings Institution study, relative to women who become pregnant intentionally, women who experience unintended pregnancies have a higher incidence of mental-health problems, less stable romantic relationships, higher rates of physical abuse, and are more likely to have abortions or to delay prenatal care. And, studies have also shown that longer spacing between pregnancies can have dramatic impacts on neonatal complications and premature birth. Reducing unintended pregnancies and increasing reproductive life planning were also identified by the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium as key components to reducing Delaware’s infant mortality rate.

In 2010, HHS asked the IOM to consider what services should qualify as a preventive service under the Women’s Health Amendment to the Affordable Care Act. The act authorizes HHS to set national policy on the issue. The agency’s ruling is expected in August.

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.


About PPDE
The mission of PPDE is to ensure the right of all individuals to access the appropriate information and the services necessary to make and act on personal decisions related to their own reproduction, sexuality and health. Planned Parenthood provides family planning, gynecological services, abortion, cancer screening, STD testing and treatment, health education, and more. The agency serves all three counties, has operated in Delaware for 80 years, and serves 10,000 clients a year. For further information, check out


Planned Parenthood of Delaware


Emily Knearl
302.655.7296, ext. 1036 (w)
302.507.3662 (cell)


July 20, 2011


July 28, 2011

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Press Release 07-20-11: PPDE Hails Institute of Medicine Recommendation on Coverage of Prescription Birth Control Without Co-Pays