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Free Birth Control

7 Things to Know About the Birth Control Mandate That Begins Today

Happy free birth control day! President Obama's free birth control mandate begins today, but before you get your hopes up there are some important things to know about what it means for you. A part of Obama's healthcare reform stipulates that private insurance companies must be required to provide contraception without copays beginning today, Aug. 1, so here's what you need to know about taking advantage of this new policy:

  • It covers a variety of methods: The FDA has approved a wide range of birth control devices and methods including male and female condoms, diaphragms, sponges, cervical caps, spermicide, the pill, patches, rings, the morning-after-pill, DMPA shots, IUDs, implantable rods, and sterilization.
  • It's more than birth control: Under Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA), new insurance plans must cover a variety of services for women at no out-of-pocket costs. These include domestic violence counseling, cervical cancer screenings, FDA-approved contraception, STI screenings, breastfeeding supplies, and a "well woman" visit with her healthcare provider.
  • You have to be insured: You must already have a private insurance plan to qualify, either through your work or school, or through the employer of your spouse or parent. Uninsured women will have to wait until 2014 for the free services, when the ACA requires everyone to have insurance.
  • Women on Medicaid may be denied: For now, it's up to each state to decide whether women on Medicaid plans will receive the services at no cost.
  • It's not just religious institutions who oppose it: Religious institutions opposed to free birth control have been allowed to wait another year while all parties involved come to a compromise — even though Obama already made a compromise in February. So if you work for a religiously affiliated organization it may be a year (or more) until the policy goes into effect. But it's not just religious employers getting an out, private business owners with personal religious beliefs may also be able to deny coverage.
  • You need to know when your plan starts: The copay-free contraception mandate only applies to new and reenrolled plans that start today or after. So to find out when you'll be able to receive free birth control you need to find out when your plan starts by either contacting your HR rep or insurance company. Most employee plans begin Jan. 1, while luckily for students, many school and university plans begin Aug. 1.
  • Watch out for grandfathered plans: If you have a "grandfathered plan" — meaning one that began before March 23, 2010, and hasn't changed since then — you may have to wait until 2014, when those plans will be considered new under the ACA.
Image Source: Thinkstock
GirlinTheRaw GirlinTheRaw 5 years
I read the title and got all excited, but it went away just as quickly... I am really not that well informed on the new health care issue although I have been seeing it all around for a long time. Like half of the article titles app mentioning Obama contain health care in it. But I am a bit confused - after 2014, health insurance is mandatory for everyone???
ChicagoDiva ChicagoDiva 5 years
 @Kirstyloo  I agree, this sounds good - but unfortunately also not the problem.   If you looked at the actual overhead figured of insurance companies in prior years, the figures are very small - miniscule even, in the grand scheme of things.  Here again, this bill is all hot air - it sounds great, but won't do much b/c admin. costs were not a big problem to begin with.
Kirstyloo Kirstyloo 5 years
These reports often miss another important part of the bill that went into effect.  It limited the cost of providing insurance.  As of Aug 1, insurance companies are required to pay at least of 80% of revenue for medical care.  This should help to keep the adminstrative overhead down and the money going where it should.  Perhaps, this change could fund part of the proposals noted here.
ChicagoDiva ChicagoDiva 5 years
 @Lua3018989 Preventive medicine is not really the issue - it's the fact that its free for everyone, whereas only a small percentage of the people really need it to be free. Most people can afford a $30 copay per month for contraception, why should they get it for free? I'm not getting my food for free - and you could argue that food is a bigger necessity than contraception. Thanks to this bill, I can starve to death, but at least I won't have an unwanted pregnancy! Brilliant, can't wait to see what they'll come up with next.
Lua3018989 Lua3018989 5 years
I'm an employed single, male,  27 years of age who makes 37,000 a year, while I might not agree with some of the bill and some might say it is wrong to re-distribute, I am will willing to contribute to preventative medicine.
Annie-Gabillet Annie-Gabillet 5 years
That's a fair point. One thing I did read is that insurance companies are fine with providing free birth control, because preventing unplanned pregnancies saves them money in the longrun. 
ChicagoDiva ChicagoDiva 5 years
What most people refuse to acknowledge is that NOTHING is free, it's just a redistribution of costs.  In this case, everyone will pay even more for insurance coverage, so that women can get free contraception, even those who are wealthy enough to pay for it.  A qualifying income level would have been a much smarter way to implement this policy, but then again, demanding anything smart from the government/president is a joke on its own.
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