The independent, nonpartisan Institute of Medicine has recommended that prescription birth control be included as a preventive service under the federal health care reform law ["New birth control coverage," News, Aug. 2].
New insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act will be required to cover FDA-approved contraceptives without charging co-pays or other out-of-pocket fees.
This could result in the elimination of one of the biggest obstacles to effective family planning for millions of American women. Planned Parenthood hears from women how difficult it is to find affordable health insurance to pay for basic health care. This new recommendation would significantly improve the lives of millions of women who have struggled to pay for birth control. Approximately 98 percent rely on birth control at some time, yet high costs can prevent consistent use, even for those with health insurance. Ranging from $15 to $50 per month for birth control pills, to several hundred dollars for long-lasting methods like IUDs, contraceptive costs can be prohibitive for young women who are starting careers or working at low-paying jobs, and for low-income women struggling to feed families.
Everybody gains from improved access to affordable birth control. In 2006, 56 percent of all pregnancies in New York were unintentional, and the cost of birth control is one of the central reasons.
Editor's note: The writers are the presidents, respectively, of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic and Planned Parenthood of Nassau County.
Reina Schiffrin, Smithtown
JoAnn D. Smith, Hempstead
August 03, 2011