Uncle Sam Wants YOU to Be Sexually Healthy

August 5, 2011

Uncle Sam doctorHormonal birth control, like the Pill or the Patch, can be an expensive precaution to take. Teenage girls and adult women around the country pay $160 to $600 per year for hormonal contraception. This is money that could be spent on schoolbooks or groceries.

Well, this financial burden for many girls and women will soon be a thing of the past. Starting August 2012, health insurance companies will be required by the Affordable Care Act to do away with co-pays for government-approved preventive-care measures for women.

That means that starting a year from now, hormonal birth control methods will be free each month, as long as you have health insurance. Other preventive-care services will be free as well: screening for the human papillomavirus (HPV) in women over 30 and counseling for HIV and STDs. The only limitation on this is that the contraception must be prescribed by a physician, which means that emergency contraception pills (also known as the “morning after pill”) that are sold over the counter will not qualify and neither will condoms. However, the new emergency contraception pill ella™ is still prescription-only, as are most oral contraceptives, which means they will be covered

This decision is controversial, because many religious groups say that birth control is against their beliefs. In response to these concerns, religious institutions are allowed to decide privately what their health insurance will cover.

Sexual health advocates are calling this new decision a victory for women, as it will now put hormonal contraception within the financial reach of more women than ever before. Planned Parenthood was so excited about the news that they danced—Bollywood style.

—Taylor McCabe, 19, Contributor

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