Nana may strike me dead from heaven for even discussing this in so public of a forum, but, in a step in the right direction for women’s health care, President Obama is now calling for insurers to offer birth control with no copay. Oh Happy Days!
According to reports, “the Obama administration has ordered health-insurance plans to cover birth control with no copays. The requirement will affect most insurance plans and comes as part of a broader initiative to expand women’s preventive coverage. Breast pumps, an annual physical, and counseling on domestic violence will also be covered cost-free.”
Talk about progress. Not a decade ago it was common for women to pay full price for their chosen method of birth control because it wasn’t covered by their insurance company. Not to mention the fact that a growing number of women are using birth control pills not only as a means for contraception, but also for overall health. Birth control pills can be used to treat a myriad of hormonal, internal and cosmetic issues for females, and it’s about damn time someone recognized their importance.
Of course, there’s always the cons to a story, as insurance companies are expected to cover these new costs by upping their premiums. However, the AP predicts increased preventive measures in women’s health will lead to lower insurance costs in the long run. In addition, this new requirement includes all forms of birth control, including those of the “morning-after” variety, which conservative groups have a very hard time dealing with. Religious institutions have been given the right to opt out of this kind of coverage, should they choose to.
Other women’s health services that are to be covered include yearly well visits, diabetes screenings during pregnancy, HPV screenings, yearly HIV screenings, education on HIV and STDs, domestic violence screenings, and help for mothers who breastfeed.
In my mind, this all seems well and good, but I know there will be objectors. To them I would just say, this is not purely a sex issue. It’s a health issue. It’s a women’s rights issue, and I said it when I was 18 and I’ll say it again now: if health insurance companies are so willing to cover Viagra, someone better be handing out birth control pills like it’s candy.