Under Obamacare, nearly three times as many women are getting free birth control pills

December 11, 2013

A new study from the Guttmacher Institute shows a big increase in privately-insured women obtaining contraceptives without any co-payment over the past year.

The health-care law, among its many provisions, requires insurance companies to cover the complete cost of FDA-approved contraceptives at no cost to the patient. The point of the Guttmacher study was to know if insurers were complying with the new requirement.

Their research, which will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Contraception, suggests that they are: Privately-insured women using common forms of birth control reported a significant increase in accessing their prescriptions without co-payment.

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The percent of women paying nothing for birth control grew from 15 percent in fall 2012 up to 40 percent in spring 2013. For women using the Nuvaring, the number went from 23 to 52 percent. The sample for other types of birth control, like IUDs, was too small to measure a payment change.

These numbers should rise in coming months, as more health insurance plans are required to comply with the new regulation. Right now, grandfathered plans -- the ones that existed back in March 2010 before the health law passed, and haven't made big changes since then -- don't have to comply with this regulation.

The number of grandfathered plans appears to be decreasing -- and that means that these numbers will likely keep going up soon.

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Lydia DePillis | December 11, 2013