Women's Birth Control Rx Costs Down Due to ACA

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Women's Birth Control Rx Costs Down Due to ACA
Women's Birth Control Rx Costs Down Due to ACA

THURSDAY, July 9, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Out-of-pocket costs for prescription birth control have dropped significantly since the Affordable Care Act took effect in the United States, according to a study published in the July issue of Health Affairs.

Researchers analyzed prescription claims data from a large national insurer. They found that the average out-of-pocket cost for a birth control pill prescription fell from $32.74 in the first six months of 2012 to $20.37 in the first six months of 2013, representing a 38 percent decrease.

During that same time, the out-of-pocket cost for intrauterine device insertion fell from $262.38 to $84.30 -- a 68 percent decrease. The researchers also found decreases in spending on other types of birth control, including emergency contraception (93 percent) and diaphragms and cervical caps (84 percent). There were only small declines in spending on the vaginal ring (2 percent) and the patch (3 percent).

Under the Affordable Care Act, private health insurers must cover prescription contraceptives with no consumer cost sharing. However, out-of-pocket costs haven't been eliminated because not all brands of contraceptive devices are covered under the requirement. Also, some women in the study were in so-called "grandfathered plans" not yet subject to the new rule, or their employers did not participate for religious reasons, the researchers said.

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