The AP is reporting that Birth Control may be covered as part of the “preventative care” provision of the Health Care Reform Law. This means that the Pill, among other things, would be convered under health insurance plans without deductibles, co-pays or co-insurance. “May be” because even at a billion pages, the thing is still up for interpretation. But check this out:
“There is clear and incontrovertible evidence that family planning saves lives and improves health,” said obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. David Grimes, an international family planning expert who teaches medicine at the University of North Carolina. “Contraception rivals immunization in dollars saved for every dollar invested. Spacing out children allows for optimal pregnancies and optimal child rearing. Contraception is a prototype of preventive medicine.”
The underlined was my emphasis. Dollars saved for dollars invested may be the best way to sell this provision. Let’s do some math:
The Pill costs me something like $30 a month, before BCBS adjusts the claim. (I am pretty sure that is what it cost 15 years ago, too.) $30 times 12 months in a year is $360. Let’s say I am on that Pill for 25 years. $360 times 25 = $9,000 over my lifetime. You know what is more expensive that $9,000? An unplanned pregnancy.
I have been on the Pill since college and seem to remember that it wasn’t covered under my insurance plan when I first started working. The way I remember it, only after the mass marketing of Viagra (which was covered under every plan) was the chorus of “What the Hell?!” finally answered. And the answer was, “Viagra is a drug that treats a disorder. The Pill is merely preventative.” And then the fight got really ugly. It is covered as a regular prescription drug now, at least in the state of Illinois.
I understand that covering the Pill at 100% is a trade off. It adds to the cost of coverage. I will continue to use the Pill whether or not it is covered or at what level it is covered. This issue is not about my needs as a patient. It is about a whole lot of other women that do not currently have the option of a safe, consistent form of birth control that they can control. As in not have to rely on a man to wear it, or provide it. Or have to choose between buying the Pill and buying groceries.
The article goes on to address the concerns of the Catholic bishops. Did you know there was a National Catholic Bioethics Center? Neither did I.
I realize this is a major matter of public policy and much more complicated than my few paragraphs of opinion. But I hope those crazy liberals win this one.