Will the Pill Be Covered Once Health Care Reform Is Enacted?

What Women Really Think
May 6 2010 4:34 PM

Will the Pill Be Covered Once Health Care Reform Is Enacted?


Though health reform has already passed, the fight over what it really means is far from over. Especially when it comes to coverage of contraception, the devil is in the details. The law requires that preventive medications and measures be covered by insurers at no or low cost. But it doesn't specify what qualifies as prevention. So will birth control pills be on the list? 79 percent of women think they should be, according to a new survey of commissioned by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. (Interestingly, fewer men-68 percent-see birth control pills as preventive health care.)


The chances seem good that the pill will make the cut when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issues its guidelines. (The law says this should happen by September, but don't be surprised if it's late.) Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius seems to be supportive of contraception. And the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology advocates that family planning should be a part of basic care.

Still, Planned Parenthood is not hedging their bets, having commissioned the survey as a sort of preventive measure of its own. The group smartly links support for insurance coverage of birth control to the 50 th anniversary of approval of the pill, which, it notes, has helped to slash numbers of unwanted pregnancies as well as maternal and infant mortality. Though there hasn't been much of a visible effort to push Sebelius to exclude contraception from preventive care, it's not unreasonable to fear one, given how bitter the health reform debate got over women's health issues-both before and after its passage.

Indeed, a flurry of activism to fill in the legislative gaps health reform left around abortion is well underway. Already, two states have passed bills that prohibit health care plans in state-based insurance exchanges from offering abortion services, and 29 have either introduced an opt-out bill, are planning to introduce a bill shortly, or are laying the ground work to introduce a bill as soon as their legislative calendars permit, according to Wonk Room .

With birth control, the fight is likely to be different. Instead of dividing states, we might see some division among methods, with the IUD excluded from coverage, say, while the pill is not.

Photograph of pill packets by Ceridwen, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license .



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.