I’ve been lucky that throughout the past three years. I’ve maintained steady employment that included employer-sponsored health insurance (I’ve also blogged about my life before employer-sponsored insurance). In these three years, I’ve held three different jobs and have had three different coverage plans. Each job has offered good insurance benefits, yet each year when I’ve switched plans, the co-pay for my preferred form of the birth control, the Nuva Ring, has differed. (Once, it jumped an astonishing $15 per month.) These changes in co-pays have had a real tangible impact on my personal budget and finances. And as we all know, the past three years have not been particularly easy from an economic standpoint.
This is why I am so excited about yesterday’s recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The IOM, a nonpartisan, independent panel of scientific and medical experts, were tasked with identifying key preventive services for women’s health care that should be covered at no-cost to the policyholder.
And the great news is that the IOM determined that all forms of birth control are preventive care for women!
I already think getting preventive care services without a co-pay or additional out-of-pocket expenses under the Affordable Care Act is a boon, but now birth control may be one of those services. For me, this means that as I continue my career and move into new positions, I’ll no longer need to worry about the changing co-pays for my birth control. Actually, I won’t even have to worry about any co-pays. As long as I have health insurance, I’ll know birth control will be available at no additional cost to me.
My Nuva Ring co-payments have ranged from $10 to $35 per month. While the cost savings may not be astronomical, in this economic climate, I know I can find a million uses for an additional couple hundred dollars each year. And as the years pass by that few hundred dollars will quickly multiply into the thousands.
Wouldn’t it be cool if when I put down the down payment for my first home, I could say that it wouldn’t have been possible without the health care law and no-cost birth control?
If you’re as excited by this as me, join me in telling the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to accept the scientific and medically driven recommendations put forth by the IOM and to make birth control available at no-cost in all new health insurance plans.
It isn’t an understatement to say that this would change millions of women’s lives. We are really close to saying – we’ve got you covered – and saying goodbye to co-pays for birth control forever!