Proposal: Make Birth Control Free

A new report has recommended to the US Department of Health and Human Services that it mandate that insurance companies fully cover contraceptives, sterilization and reproductive education at no cost to patients as part of the new health care legislation.  From CNN.com:

The birth control methods, services and education should be available “so that women can better avoid unwanted pregnancies and space their pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes,” according to a report from the Institute of Medicine, an independent, nonprofit organization that gives advice to decision makers and the public.

Annual HIV tests, breastfeeding support and a well-woman care visit should also be fully covered as preventive services, the report states.

Under most health insurance plans, birth control such as hormone pills and implantable devices are partially covered, but require patients to contribute financially. If the Institute of Medicine committee’s recommendations are accepted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, women will no longer have to shell out co-pays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket fees for approved birth control or sterilization methods.

It’s unclear whether HHS will implement the report’s recommendations. That decision could come as early as August.

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