Contraceptive Coverage Bill Highlights Inequity in Health Care

About half of health insurance agencies refuse to pay for contraceptives while many rushed to reimburse money for impotence drugs. Women’s current health care expenditures are sixty-eight percent higher than men’s, and much of that cost is for birth control. The “Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptives Coverage Act” (EPICC) would require health insurance plans that cover prescription drugs to cover all prescription forms of birth control. Hearings were held to explore the topic yesterday.

Opponents are arguing that it would cost too much for plans to cover contraceptives, but that argument has little validity since unintended pregnancy costs more in the long run than birth control does. Today the House of Representatives passed a similar bill which guaranteed contraceptive coverage to federal employees. Many Senators who support the EPICC say the issue was brought to a head after the focus on Viagra. As Senator Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada, said “If men were the ones who need prescription contraceptives, I have no doubt they would have been covered years ago.”


AP - July 22, 1998

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