What do you think about the requirement that health plans must offer free birth control?

Under federal rules announced Monday, women with private health insurance will be able to get birth control free of charge starting next year. Contraception would be exempt from copays or other charges, along with other preventive services like cancer screenings and blood pressure checks. Today’s Question: What do you think about the requirement that health plans must offer free birth control?

  • Hiram

    It’s like making sure that some of the deckchairs on the Titanic have a nicer view of the iceberg.

  • Laurie

    many health plans offer viagra or other impotence meds in their plans and society has no problem with this. When is society going to change its attitude that women have as much right to be a sexual being as men do?

    also, many women, like myself take birth control for other health reasons like to control heavy or irregular menstral cycles and other health issues.

    the US society needs to come into the 21st century and get over itself.

  • Stacey Burns

    If contraception is not preventive, I don’t know what is. However, the coverage is not “free.” Policy holders pay for insurance coverage, and preventive treatments are one of the services they pay for.

  • david

    It only makes sense. It’s a LOT cheaper to provide birth control for free then to provide prenatal, and then pediatric health care for 18 years. Not to mention building more schools and hiring more teachers no one wants to pay for.

    The irony here is the people most opposed to providing free birth control are also the people most opposed to paying teachers a decent wage and improving (paying for) out public education infrastructure. As long as we have a society of magical thinking religious zealots this non-issue will be wasting our time.

  • Kari

    I’ve been on birth control since I was 16 (about 11 years now). Thankfully my mother, the nurse, had the brains to see that birth control has other benefits- helping with heavy cycles, balancing hormones, regulating cycles. Also- many teenage girls who are put on the drug Accutane by their dermatologist for extreme cases of acne are required to take birth control, as it can cause birth defects. So for those who think the one and only reason women take birth control is to prevent pregnancy- they’re not getting the whole story.

    Birth control has allowed me, a young woman under the age of 30, to have control over when I get pregnant. I would rather know that I’m protected and safe (to a degree of course, it’s not fool proof) instead of putting all my eggs in one basket and relying on my partner to be the safe one. Obviously abstinence is the only fool proof way to prevent pregnancy- but if you believe that young people (past, present and future) are going to use that as their form of birth control- you’ve been living in a cave.

  • Josh

    I’m not a fan of my health insurance dollars covering medication for a condition that is 100% preventable through simple changes in behavior.

  • Larry M.

    It’s about time, to not cover birth control was just sexist.

  • Bear

    Seems like a fair balance to the world’s religious leaders continuing to advocate prolific procreation in the face of a global population crisis, famine, and resource scarcity. It’s time for the world’s religious leaders to tune in to and adapt their dctrine to the current global environment; we are running out of land, water, oil, minerals, and fresh air. We need a declining global birth rate.

  • linda

    I think it is a good thing that birth control pills will be covered.

  • P. Nielsen

    It’s about time. I can’t believe it took as long as this to accomplish something that should have been included from the very beginning. It is not an insurance company’s or anyone else’s business what women choose to do as part of their health care. Most opposition to family planning in all its forms stems from a desire to hold power over women and girls and nothing else.

  • Tony

    It’s about time.

  • @ Josh – would you prefer your insurance dollars went to abortions? Will you still complain about your insurance dollars providing birth control when the abortion rates go down? I’m curious- do you think married women should abstain?

    There is idealism and then there is reality. I consider myself a pro-lifer, but I don’t support a ban. We reduce abortions by going after the root source – unwanted pregnancies. I believe this policy will bring about a reduction in abortions, so I think that is a very good thing. The sad part is it does nothing to help women who can’t afford insurance to prevent their unwanted pregnancies.

  • Paula

    I volunteered in a family planning clinic and heard this countless times from women: “We couldn’t afford the pill. We used other methods but they didn’t work, and I got pregnant”. Now, hopefully, women and their partners won’t have that worry any more. That is, unless they work for a religious institution.

  • Maggie

    This is a cost saving measure that should be supported by fiscal conservatives.

  • MplsWoman

    @Josh married ppl shouldn’t be able to “get it on” without the risk of popping out another kid 9 months later? Menopausal women shouldn’t be able to use birth control for hormone regulation while going through the process? Single women who don’t want to have kids RIGHT now have no right to choose not to? These ppl all pay for health insurance just like you. Suck it up, I’m sure my premiums go to pay for somebody elses something or other, that I’m morally opposed to.

  • Jennifer

    If Viagara is covered, birth control most certainly ought to be covered (as Laurie mentioned).

    I lived in Mexico for a few years (most of that time as a married woman — not that it should matter — but of course, for some readers it does); in Mexico, birth control pills can be purchased inexpensively over the counter in the pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription.

    When I was planning to return to the U.S., I stocked up on pills before I left Mexico. And then when my mom went to Puerto Vallarta on vacation, I had her stock up for me again. She said that she got funny looks from the clerks — as a 60-something year old American woman — buying multiple boxes of birth control pills!

    The point is that women should be able to easily and inexpensively have relative control over their reproductive health. And that shouldn’t require trips to Mexico in order to accomplish. End of discussion.

  • Deana

    The birth control isn’t “free”; “free” implies you don’t have to pay for it; ie. handing it out on a street corner. You are still paying for birth control when you pay your premiums. This story is a bit misleading.

  • Al

    It’s about time! It’s ridiculous that the biggest opponents of this were also the groups most strongly opposed to abortion.

  • Jenny N

    @Josh – with your logic, insurance shouldn’t cover: heart disease, type II diabetes, or even emergency room visits for broken bones. Because aren’t all of these things 100% preventable by a simple change in behavior?

  • Nicodemus

    Finally. Now legalize Cannabis/Hemp.

  • Jen

    Hallelujah!! With my high deductible insurance I am tired of paying $100 a month for my birth control pills!!! What a relief and it’s about time….

  • Jo

    Well, it’s about time! Couldn’t the insurance companies have figured out the financial benefit for themselves? Isn’t it amazing it has taken this long to get to this point? And, in response to one of the comments here, Viagra isn’t covered even for men who have been maimed by surgery for prostate cancer. That outcome seems to be the next sexist issue to address with insurance companies since they cover breast reconstruction for women recovering from breast cancer.

  • Kirk

    I am shocked. NOT that this is being required, but that it is JUST NOW being required!

  • @ Nicodemus – Sorry. The Obama Administration just ruled that cannabis has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin.

    But I’m with you.

  • Adam

    About time! The next step is to make access even easier. Seems to me anything we as a society can do to help stop unwanted pregnancies is a no brainier . And it’s a good deal for the insurance companies too. Pills are a lot cheaper than either care for a pregnant woman or a termination.

  • CJ

    Preventing unplanned pregnancy saves money for everyone in an insurance plan and even more in cases that end up being covered by government health care. Pregnant women and babies are way more expensive for the bottom line than women on the pill. That’s just the bottom line part of it. Anybody who’s just operating on that for determining the worth of this this change in medication coverage should be throwing a party. You can have a woman on the pill for many years on the cost of one abortion or one complicated premature birth.

    Women who only have babies when they want them and plan for them and are prepared for parenting bring healthier children into this world that are less of a burden on taxpayers and the planet. Free birth control for women is a lot smarter than a bowl full of free condoms at the Planned Parenthood clinic. Duh.

  • Max

    Unfortunately, the women who need free birth control the most don’t have health care insurance. And let me preclude the expected right-wing response by saying that most poor women don’t qualify for medicaid until they are single mothers. If even then…

  • Zandra Zwiebel

    SO glad to see others have commented on the absolute irony of health insurance programs covering Viagara, but refusing funding for birth control. I have always found this discrepancy in the “system” truly exasperating.

  • Jason

    You’d think health insurance providers would be giving out contraceptives like candy. It seems like the obvious choice verses the cost of unwanted pregnancies. It might also be the answer to the ‘Catch-22’ of Max’s comment below.

  • Pat

    If men could get pregnant, this policy would have been implemented 50 years ago.

  • Alleyne

    The question as stated is based upon a false premise. Contraceptives aren’t going to be free, they’re going to have 100% coverage, meaning $0 copay. That doesn’t mean free, it means that patients are paying for these services as part of their premium, rather than at the point of delivery.

    The HHS policy document of this week related to women’s preventative care, including but hardly limited to contraceptives, but there will be similar $0 copay requirements for a long list of preventative care for men (annual prostate cancer screening sure to be one of them) and others (including other cancer screenings, especially for those age 50+) that apply equally to both sexes.

    And a note to commented “Max” who noted the women who’d most benefit from this don’t have health insurance to begin with, you’re right, Max. That’s why Planned Parenthood has made no cost and low cost contraceptives (and well-woman care) available for low-income women nationwide. The recent efforts to de-fund Planned Parenthood come from the exact same people who are raising objections to this change in insurance requirements. They claim to be “pro life” but it’s difficult to find whose life they’re interested in when all of their policies are geared toward removing the ability of women to exert control over our own lives and receive basic healthcare.

  • Rodney from Minneapolis

    I’m very supportive. There’s been too much lack of available birth control, and we have way too many unwanted babies. I don’t want to promote promiscuity, that’s going to be one of the objections to this. But there needs to be more birth control, so that the babies that are born are wanted.

  • Greg

    I am 100% in favor. I think men should share in the cost since it takes two to tango. Without us, there is no need to use the birth control. One side of the relationship should not have to carry the burden.

  • JAL

    It is another sad day ….and a another sad handout that taxpayers are going to pay the bill for. The fact that it is even needed much less having again the tax payers foot the bill. Pretty soon people will be claiming it is their right to free birth control. Once again, because people have no morals and can’t control themselves the are asking me to pay for it. I am 38 years old, I have two children, neither my wife or I have ever had the need birth control……ever. Why should I have to pay for someone else’s?

  • Dan

    This makes complete sense. The cost of providing birth control will be very easily absorbed by avoiding the costs of raising unwanted children. The fact remains that young people will continue to have sex, and no amount of religious rightousness will ever change that, let’s accept it and make policy accordingly. I’d be in favor or requiring a contraception “risk assessment” of sorts when young women reach the age at which they can become pregnant. Let’s hand out birth control to whoever wants it, whenever they want it. It only makes sense. Behavior will not change because of it. Let’s try to be realistic…

  • Steve

    Well if women get birth control free of charge starting next year. Why don’t men get free condoms? She can say she is taking it …but a condom you can know if it is active as a birth control ….(so to say) also protects more than the Pill does… both Male and female should be Safe.

    This just stinks of discrimination and shows a social basis that birth controls is the woman’s responsibility.

    Give men the option to also have a “pill’ instead of a vasectomy… (that is not referable).. in addition to the option of condom for more protection….might just help men play a larger role in birth control…..

    In a relationship where two people have not decided to have children but don’t want to do anything that is not revisable. It should not be the option of the female to change that agreement by “conventionally forgetting to take the pill” if both are taking a pill things would be equal.

    Now you can say the male always has the option of using a condom. Well so does a woman as there are now female condoms. But gee they have not caught on with women as they also lower the females sensations and are a pain to use….. Haven’t men been say that too for years… but it was just male rhetoric…according to women as women did don’t notice the reduction in pleasure when a male prolific was used. ..

    To think that humans who’s bodies are sexually active won’t have relations. Is just a right wing Christian myth. It is normal..Thank God! or just thank the opposite sex for pleasure.

    Bringing children into the world should be a choice of both persons in a relationship not just one….

    Idle thoughts a single male….

    Cheers,

    Steve

  • barracuda

    @JAL

    Did you even read the statement/question before you commented? Private insurance plans are funded by member premiums, not by taxpayers. Take your bogeyman and go home.

  • Brandy

    In the interest of health and human safety, we haven’t gone far enough. I’d like to see access to free condoms and comprehensive education about human sexuality and sexualy transmitted disease as well. While I’m a Catholic and supporter of choosing life for the unborn I don’t believe that preaching abstainance will ever work. God’s children are gonna do what God’s children are gonna do. It’s better for the health and wellbeing of young people everywhere to be safe when choosing to have sex. And it’s a good thing if they have been taught about STDs and how being sexually active can affect one’s mental, spiritual, and social wellbeing. If they make a smart choice while being sexually active/inactive they may never have to make a life or death choice later.

    P.S. Don’t just blog here….. talk to your children!

  • Alice Williams

    I absolutely support this. Many, if not most, of the world’s problems are due to overpopulation, e.g. pollution, shortage of resources, etc. The last thing the world can handle right now is more unplanned, unwanted children.

  • Cheryl

    I think birth control, in every form should be free and not second guessed. As someone else suggested, the cost of paying for unwanted children is way more than the cost of paying for birth control. I bet if the Federal government paid for BC they would be successful at negotiating lower costs.

  • CarlS

    Simply put, whatever works.

    It just reoccurred to me what a rather sobering topic this is. While we probably need to address the issue of contraception in a clinic, non-judgmental fashion, it still bothers me that we as a society can’t seem to get control of the root of the problem – that approximately 4 out of 10 pregnancies are unintended.

    It’s a sad comment on our culture that people simply are not disciplined or knowledgeable enough the way other countries are in preventing pregnancy.

  • Greg

    Its a good start. In a nation that cannot currently provide employment for its current crop of teen-agers and college age population – its seems ludicrous to not help manage the heard. All indications are that jobs will be far and few between for the foreseeable 5-6 years. Breeding more un-employed seems categorically irresponsible. And … while the Just-Say-No crowd is correct – not having sex is even more effective – bioligists, psychologists, friends, clergy and nearly any rationale thinking individual will tell you .. Good Luck with that approach long term!

  • Tim

    If the issue is healthcare coverage, then when is being pregnant a disease?

  • Tim

    If the issue is healthcare coverage, then when is being pregnant a disease?

  • steve

    Absolutely not. There are limited health care dollars. Why not free Lipitor for everyone or free diabetic supplies and insulin for diabetics? I am not at all unsupportive or otherwise oppossed to birth control, but EVERY health service has a cost and the consumer/user/patient should not get it for free for some services/drugs. It is just bad policy.

  • Steve the Cynic

    What’s ironic is the number of people who simultaneously oppose all of the following:

    — relatively free access to birth control,

    — legalized abortion,

    — social services for women with unplanned pregnancies who choose not to have abortions.

    It’s hypocrisy, pure and simple.

  • Jessie

    I am concerned about the effects of birth control drugs … we still don’t know what is causing the epidemic of spectrum disorders such as autism and increasing amount of cancer in women. I instead support tubal ligation when a woman wants uncle sam to support more than one baby vs years of drugs. Is someone who won’t use something as cheap, convenient and effective as a condom going to take birth control pills regularily or get a patch at the correct tiime? Plenty of people are paying the Chinese and other governments over $10,000 for babies being brought into the US instead of these governments paying the US and it’s parents for the care and love of these babies. This income could pay for sexual education of men and women, condoms and v-snips and tl.

  • Clark

    I support policy issue but I can tell you nothing in life is free. Someone, somewhere is paying for this “free” birth control. Only the far left believe the fallacy of free health care.

  • Steve the Cynic

    And only the far right buys into the superstition that the free market can solve the problems in our health care system.

  • Klundy

    I am surprised that the insurance companies hadn’t thought of this first. Imagine all the money they will save if they don’t have to pay for all the unintended births? Seems like “cheap insurance.”

  • Erica

    I think it’s great. I can’t believe health insurance providers didn’t come to the conclusion on their own that providing birth control as part of a health care package would be far less expensive for them in the long run than an unwanted pregnancy or an abortion.

    And for those of you who take issue with your tax dollars funding free abortion – go back and re-read the question. It is NOT your tax dollars paying for it; it is legislation that requires private health care coveratge to include contraceptives in what is deemed as ‘preventative care’, along with other such services like cancer screening, among others. It only makes sense.

    @ Alleyne – you stated it perfectly re: low income women who don’t have health care coverage and Planned Parenthood, and those who scream the loudest to de-fund PP. I agree with you completely.

  • And I thought I was the sensible one. Thanks for setting me strahigt.