Newspaper article Roll Call

Why All Methods of FDA-Approved Birth Control Must Be Covered by Insurance | Commentary

Newspaper article Roll Call

Why All Methods of FDA-Approved Birth Control Must Be Covered by Insurance | Commentary

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Why All Methods of FDA-Approved Birth Control Must Be Covered by Insurance | Commentary

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* By Deborah Nucatola and Hal C. Lawrence, III

* May 8, 2015, 12:39 p.m.

Over the past few years, millions of women have gone to the pharmacy to fill their birth control prescription, or visited the doctor to have an intrauterine device inserted, and learned their birth control is fully covered, without a copayment. Some of these women used to pay hundreds of dollars a year out-of-pocket for birth control. But among the Affordable Care Act's dramatic advancements for women's preventive health is a provision that requires insurance companies to cover birth control without a copay.

However, while 48.5 million women are eligible for this benefit, recent reports make it abundantly clear that some health insurance carriers continue to charge women for their prescriptions or make them jump through unnecessary hoops to receive the birth control method they and their doctor agree is best for them.

Recognizing this troublesome trend, the National Women's Law Center reviewed insurance companies' plan documents in 15 states to see how they are covering women's health care, including birth control. They found that some insurance companies are not providing the coverage the law requires, forcing women to pay more or go without the contraceptive best suited to their health and needs.

This is a clear defiance of the law's mandate.

Some insurers restrict access to certain birth control methods, such as the ring, patch and IUD, by forcing women to undergo "step therapy" - or what's known colloquially as the try-and-fail method. …

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