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VICTORY: Support Coverage for Yearlong Supply of Birth Control
HB 2267, introduced by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, ensures that a Virginia woman's health insurance covers her to receive up to a twelve-month supply of prescription contraception at one time, improving health outcomes by better enabling women to avoid unintended pregnancy.
The House of Delegates passed this bill on February 7 by a bipartisan vote of 94-1. The Senate passed it on February 16 by a vote of 36-4. Governor McAuliffe has now signed the bill.
Why this policy is important:
- When a woman has the ability to control her reproductive health and plan if and when to have children, it is beneficial to both her and her community. For women who use hormonal contraception (like the birth control pill), consistent use without gaps is essential for effective use in preventing unintended pregnancy.
- Even if you have a prescription for a full year of birth control, many women can currently receive only one month of pills at a time under their insurance coverage.This forces women to return to the pharmacy frequently and often only within a narrow window allowed by insurance.
- For many women who work long hours or multiple jobs, lack access to reliable transportation, or live in a remote area of the Commonwealth, only being able to obtain a 30- or 90-day supply of prescription contraception at a time can be an obstacle to continuous and effective use. Missing just one dose because of difficulty getting to a pharmacy within the right time frame can lead to an unintended pregnancy.
- Allowing women to receive a twelve-month supply of their contraception at one time just makes sense, and is recommended by medical experts. A 2011 study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that dispensing a twelve-month supply of oral contraceptives to patients at one time reduced the likelihood of unintended pregnancy by 30% and the likelihood of abortion by 46%. The 2013 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Recommendations include dispensing a yearlong supply of contraception, saying, "The more pill packs given up to 13 cycles, the higher the continuation rates. Restricting the number of pill packs distributed or prescribed can result in unwanted discontinuation of the method and increased risk for pregnancy."
- Avoiding unintended pregnancy is beneficial for women and families' health outcomes and financial situations, but it also saves insurance companies money in the long run. The average cost to insurers of covering hormonal birth control for one year is between $160-$600, while the average cost to an insurer of pregnancy and childbirth can be over $20,000.
- Oregon, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and Vermont have all passed policies like this requiring coverage for a yearlong supply of oral contraception.