On Tuesday, the Institute of Medicine issued recommendations to Health and Human Services that health insurers should be required to provide coverage for the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods at no cost to women. If this recommendation is adopted, women who use birth control pills could save about $15 to $50 a month that they would have otherwise spent in co-pays. Women who use other methods of birth control, like IUDs, could save even more.
Forking over as little as $15 a month may seem like small change, but these monthly co-pays add up to $180 to $600 a year. Consider what women could pay for with those cost savings:
- An entire month’s rent: In 2008, the median gross rent was $824 a month, and in some states, the median gross rent was less than $600 a month.
- Almost two months of gasoline: In April, the average American household spent $368.09 filling their tanks.
- Four Kindles or four iPod nanos, at $139 and $149, respectively.
- A round-trip flight from New York City to Los Angeles.
Given the high cost of birth control, it makes sense that one in three women voters have struggled to pay for birth control at some point in their lives. Women should not have to forgo their preferred form of birth control or use a less effective method in order to pay for other basic necessities, like housing or transportation. We encourage Health and Human Services to recognize the importance of no-cost birth control to women and adopt the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations.