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Key Health Benefit For Women To Vanish If Obamacare Repealed

Associated Press
A one-month dosage of hormonal birth control pills is displayed Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif.
Key Health Benefit For Women To Vanish If Obamacare Repealed
Repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean the end for the requirement that health plans provide contraceptives at no cost.

If Congress fully repeals the Affordable Care Act, a vital preventive service for women will disappear: no-cost contraceptives.

The ACA requires insurers to cover FDA-approved contraceptives, including birth control pills, diaphragms, and implanted devices such as IUDs. The mandate also includes emergency contraception, and patient education and counseling. These must be provided at no cost, even if a woman hasn’t met her health plan’s deductible.


Laurie Sobel, associate director of women’s health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said contraceptive coverage is not a fringe benefit.

“It’s an essential service for women, and it’s out of financial reach for many women to have the contraceptive method of their choice, or any contraceptive method, if they don’t have it covered by their insurance,” Sobel explained.

California has its own law, called the Comprehensive Coverage Equity Act, which requires private plans and Medi-Cal to cover all prescribed FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing.

But Sobel said that won’t help women who lose their health insurance if Obamacare is repealed.

“So, if you don’t have private health insurance because you can no longer afford it because the premium subsidies are no longer available, or you don’t have Medi-Cal, then it doesn’t matter what’s required to be covered if you’re not insured,” she said.


A 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation/Washington Post survey revealed seven out of 10 Americans support laws requiring insurers to cover the full cost of birth control.