On Oct. 6, PA State Representatives Lisa Bennington and Chelsa Wagner, both Democrats from Allegheny County, introduced HB 2756, which would require insurance companies to cover FDA-approved contraceptives under their prescription plans. While some insurance companies already do treat birth control prescriptions like other medications, others don’t, forcing women to spend more money on basic medical care.
Although the PA Legislature is nearing the end of its session and will likely not vote on HB 2756 this year, Reps. Bennington and Wagner felt it was important to raise this issue with their colleagues in the state House.
“It is hard to believe that over 70 years ago, as a staunch advocate for a woman’s right to birth control, Margaret Sanger was fighting for a woman’s choice to decide how and when, if ever, she will bear children,” Bennington said. “Yet, here we are, 70 years later, fighting to have all health insurers cover the cost of contraception so that women can exercise control over their bodies and reproductive rights. It’s ridiculous that they don’t, and we are demanding that a woman’s reproductive health and future be placed in her own hands and not the hands of insurance companies.”
Similar legislation was introduced in the PA Legislature last year. On Feb. 7, 2007, state Senator Connie Williams introduced the Prescription Contraception Equity Act (SB 38). On Sept. 11 of last year, Rep. Daylin Leach introduced the House version of the legislation, HB 316.
Some interesting facts to note, according to the findings of the bill:
- On average, women of reproductive age spend 68% more on out of pocket medical expenses than men in their age group.
- Twenty-three other states have passed legislation requiring insurance companies to cover birth control prescriptions.
- The cost to add insurance coverage for contraception to those plans that don’t cover it is less than $2 per employee per month.