Free Birth Control & Breast Exams Start Today: How the New Rule Applies to You

Health Check 29

birth control pillsPresident Obama is lookin' out for us ladies! Beginning today, August 1, given the government's new health care reforms, private insurance companies must start providing contraception for free! In other words, without any kind of co-pay. And that's not all. The rule applies to a bevy of other preventative women's health services, including well-woman visits, mammograms, gestational diabetes screening, HPV DNA testing for women 30+, STI screening (including HIV), breastfeeding support/supplies/counseling, and domestic violence counseling. Yippee!

But before running over to your local drugstore to demand the pharmacist fork over your monthly pill pack, check out this easy breakdown of how the new law may affect you, depending on your insurance sitch ...

If you have a private health insurance plan from your employer or that you pay for out-of-pocket, the new rules apply to you. About 65 percent of women between the ages of 18 to 64 (in other words, adults who don't qualify for Medicare) have this kind of insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Unfortunately, this means the 19 mil. women in this age group who are uninsured will still have to pay for birth control.)

If your plan starts today or after today, you'll be able to take advantage now. However, because the law only began to take effect today, anyone whose most recent plan began earlier this year or late last year may have to wait until they've renewed to see the benefit. For instance, if your plan started on July 1, 2012, you may have to wait until you renew on July 1, 2013. But some insurance plans say they'll implement the law early. (You could call your health insurance provider to find out what their specific scoop is.)

If you're on Medicaid (like 17 mil. other women in the U.S.), it's up to your state to determine whether or not your plan will provide no-cost contraception and the other women's health services the rule applies to.

If your private health insurance plan has not changed since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in March 2010, a "grandfather" clause may mean the plan does not have to adhere to the new rules. By 2013, about half of large employer insurance plans and about one-third of small employer plans will still fall under this caveat and not have to provide free contraception. Ugh!

If you get your insurance through a religiously-affiliated employer, you'll have to pay co-pays for the next year, as well.

In short, it seems like not all that many women will be able to nab free birth control today. But the good news is that all this red tape is temporary (and understandably a natural part of implementing a new, wide-sweeping law), and by this time next year, 47 million women will be able to get their contraception and preventative health care services for FREE! Awesome!

How do you feel about this new rule? Will you be able to take advantage of it?


birth control, health insurance, health products, hormonal imbalances


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fleur... fleurdelys3110

Maressa, you are such a fool. Nothing in this world is FREE, including birth control. All Americans will be paying taxes or higher premiums to support this act, so the birth control IS BEING PAID FOR, just not directly.

Caera Caera

It's not free, you moron.

Doomy234 Doomy234

Yes, while it is nice not to pay $9 at the counter for my prescription, thats a hell of a lot more coming out of my husband and my pockets because now instead of paying that $9 at the counter, both of our premiums go up $50+ each. So yeah, thanks for removing that nine dollars, now I only have to pay $90+ more. REAL improvement there... *rolls eyes*

yayhe... yayheadstart

Well doesn't do me any good cause I STILL can't afford health insurance!

Laurlev Laurlev

I dont get why this is so great. I suppose it's nice to not have to pay a co-pay, but we have a good plan and can afford it. Meanwhile, poor women who can't afford insurance or get on Medicaid have no benefit.

Torra... TorranceMom

News flash Maressa! Nothing . . . NOTHING in this world is free. Everything has a price.

littl... littlebeanmom

Oh calm down! I think birth control availability should be made a priority. Yes, it is not technically free. Do you actually even know anyone on Medicaid? It is not as easy to get on as everyone thinks. You have to be destitute.

Kelly... KellyBSchrute

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes caught on tape...

Obama supporter: "I'm gonna go get me some of that Obama money!"

Reporter: "Obama money? Where do you think that money comes from?"

Obama supporter: "I don't know, he's just got lots of money."

CHINA is paying for your "free" birth control, and all of us at some point will have to pay them back.

nonmember avatar guest

Well since you're already paying for it indirectly for Congress with your taxes, don't you think paying for it indirectly through premiums for YOURSELF is a better deal, at least more fair? "The coverage of these preventive services gives Americans access to many of the services already offered to Members of Congress."

nonmember avatar guest

China is paying for our birth control? That doesn't even make any sense. Did you have a three-martini lunch?

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