As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) implements Section 2713 of the Affordable Care Act that requires women's preventive health services to be covered at no cost, a new survey, conducted by Hart Research Associates and commissioned by Planned Parenthood Action Fund as part of Planned Parenthood's "Birth Control Matters" campaign, found overwhelming and widespread public support for national policies that would provide prescription birth control approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at no cost to all women with health insurance. Nearly three-fourths of American voters (71 percent) believe insurers should be required to fully cover the birth control pill and other forms of prescription contraception as they will be required to do for other preventive health care services under the new health care reform law, according to new data released on October 12. HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration has asked the Institute of Medicine to develop recommendations on which women's preventive services should be covered and included in women's health guidelines. HHS is expected to finalize the guidelines by August 2011.
The survey shows a number of important specifics about what people think about coverage of contraception:
- 71 percent of all voters, including men and women, say prescription birth control should be included as preventive health care services, covered without any out-of-pocket costs. This includes three in five male voters (60 percent) and four out of five female voters (81 percent).
- Seven in 10 Republican women (72 percent) said that birth control should be included as preventive health care, covered without any out-of-pocket costs.
- 77 percent of Catholic women voters said that birth control should be covered as preventive health care without any out-of-pocket costs.
- One in three women voters (34 percent) report having struggled with the cost of prescription birth control at some point in their lives. Among younger women (ages 18-34), 55 percent have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control.
Covering the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive prescriptions and devices and related outpatient care will go a long way to help reduce unplanned pregnancy and improve the well-being of families and children. For women who experience unplanned pregnancy there is reduced opportunity to pursue pre-conception care as well as care in between pregnancies. In addition, unplanned pregnancy provides less opportunity for optimal child spacing. With overwhelming public support behind it, the Administration has a real opportunity to help millions of women and make a difference in the lives of children and families by covering contraception with no copays.