Beginning one year from today (August 1, 2012) virtually all health insurance plans must cover all government-approved contraceptives without co-payments or other fees, according to new standards issued by the Obama administration today. While health plans offered by certain religious groups can opt out of this requirement, almost everyone else will have to abide by it.
In addition, the government will also require full coverage for many things, including but not limited to, screening for HIV, screening for HPV, and coverage for annual preventive-care visits.
All of this is fabulous news for women. While those who are against abortion would have you believe that most unplanned pregnancies are due to irresponsible women who don’t use contraception by choice, I know from over 20 years of talking to women with unplanned pregnancies that a great many of them find themselves pregnant because they can’t afford to pay for their contraception. Sometimes this is because their insurance coverage ran out, sometimes because their co-pay to actually obtain their contraception was too costly for them to manage.
In the United States about half of all pregnancies are unintended. Starting next August, free access to one’s contraceptive of choice should help decrease the number of unplanned pregnancies significantly.