Smart SpendingSmart Spending

New rules mandate free birth control

Women with health insurance will get access to a range of preventive care without a co-pay under new health care reform guidelines.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 2, 2011 3:32PM

This post comes from Jeanine Skowronski at partner site MainStreet.


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued new guidelines ensuring that women will receive birth control and other preventive care for free.


Under the guidelines, new health insurance plans will be required to cover women's preventive services -- including annual visits to the gynecologist, breast-feeding support, sexually transmitted infection counseling and domestic violence screening -- without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or deductible. Post continues after video.

Additionally, the guidelines state that contraception and screening for gestational diabetes, human papillomavirus and HIV must be issued to patients free of charge. DNA testing for women 30 and over will also be covered under the new guidelines.

Insurance companies must include these services without cost sharing beginning on or after Aug. 1, 2012.


The guidelines are based on recommendations made by the independent Institute of Medicine, which was commissioned by the HHS to provide recommendations for specific preventive measures that meet women's unique health care needs.


Earlier this year, HHS released similar rules under the Affordable Care Act requiring that all new private health plans cover several other evidence-based preventive services such as mammograms, colonoscopies, blood pressure checks and childhood immunizations without charging a co-payment, deductible or co-insurance. According to HHS, the Affordable Care Act also made recommended preventive services free to those on Medicare.


"The Affordable Care Act helps stop health problems before they start," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a written statement. "These historic guidelines are based on science and existing literature and will help ensure women get the preventive health benefits they need."


More on MainStreet and MSN Money:

Aug 3, 2011 7:02PM

I cannot figure out why men get so up in arms about anything that involves female sexuality.  Every time I see an article about either abortion or birth control I see the same comments about "responsibility" constantly.  Always referring to women of course.  Here's a news flash boys....women like sex too.  It's not against the law for us to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage.  If that sticks in your craw...well...I don't know what to tell you.  But I'll say'll be happy that girl is receiving free birth control when you don't want to wear a condom because "it doesn't feel the same".  I'll be so happy when there is a birth control pill for men!!  You have no idea what it's like to constantly have to bear the responsibility not only for ourselves...but you boys as well...cause you just can't control your natural urges.  Whereas we're supposed to be the good girl gatekeepers when you come banging on our door.  Get over yourselves. Oh, and you're already paying for free birth control for some women. Our brave women in the U.S. Military (I was in the ya'll paid for mine for 9 yrs.   Thanks!). I know that I've thrown quite a few generalizations in this...but I'm also old enough to know that the ugly double standard about sex is still alive and well out there in the real world.


Aug 3, 2011 1:38PM

OK!! for all you men who really dont know a thing bout birth control, most of women take it because of health issues, not because they want to go get their freak on and not have the worries of possibly getting knocked up. I have really bad ovarian cyst, and for you guys who dont know how bad they really do hurt, have a buddy kick ya where it counts. that should suffice. i've been dealing with this since i was 13! which is 12 long painful years for me. the ONLY salvation i have is my birth control that supresses the cyst from becoming to large and rupturing, which will then send you to the E.R. for emergency surgery so you dont die from blood poisoning. that happened to me when i was 13. but even if i wanted to have children, i cant because im infertal now but i still have to take it daily. for most women, its not a sex thing, its a health issue that can have deathly consequences.

Aug 3, 2011 6:11PM
Years ago, I worked for a company that had excellent health-insurance benefits.  Employees were required to attend an information session with the insurance company, and told to ask any questions they wished.  I asked if birth-control pills were covered by the health insurance.  Once the laughter in the room died down, I was told that no, they were not.  Never made any sense to me since pre-natal care, post-natal care, and the subsequent health-care costs for the child (whether wanted or not) would far exceed the cost of birth-control pills.
Aug 6, 2011 11:21AM
Ok people, I am confused at why everyone is ASSUMING that this program is only for women who are on welfare and/or get assistance from the Government. ALL Health Insurance companies will offer these free (that's the way I read it). Not every woman takes birth control just for birth control. I have PCOS, and I am on it just to help get my reproductive system under control. It is also given to women who have endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and a number of other very painful medical problems. Get over yourselves already. 
Aug 3, 2011 1:09PM
I am hopeful that this is a good thing. I can see where people are upset and worried it will raise insurance premiums, but there are so many women out there that need this. Being on food stamps, TANF, medicaid, or any other government assistance does not make you a bad person. Yes there are bad people on these assistance programs, and there are people who work the system. But not all. I am a single mother of one and do not plan on having any more children - at least no time soon. Because of medical reason I can only use a certain type of birth control that costs $50/month. I am on medicaid, and it is covered, so I pay nothing. But there are many women out there who have the same issue as me and can not afford the $50/month. Because of this new law, they will have birth control. This will help prevent unplanned pregnancies and hopefully not be on state assistance as long.

Don't judge all people on state assistance. We are not all the same. Some of us are honestly trying to be better, go to school, work, support and raise our child(ren). Many of us are doing it alone because of deadbeat dads. If the "father" isn't going to support the child, and the mother can't do it all on her own - why look down on her for getting help?

I think free birth control is an awesome idea - and I'm pro-life, and Catholic. If you want to talk about something that needs to be mandatory for people on state assistance, rat fink, then let's being up the topic of drug tests. This will eliminate the people who are using the system, and leave us single mothers trying to make a better life for their children.

Aug 6, 2011 10:58AM
You know, not everyone uses birth control for birth control purposes. It is prescribed off label for many other uses. Believe it or not, I actually take it to help control a heart condition. I've tried heart meds, and they didn't work as well my birth control does. I had a hormonal imbalance that led to my heart problem. Other women take it to reduce their symptoms of endometriosis. If you know anything about that disease, you know how painful and debilitating it can be. Thanks to birth control, those women who use it to manage their symptoms can go on to be productive members of society, like all of you moral police want them to be. And if you guys don't want me to have a healthy heart with my birth control, enjoy paying for my heart surgery and disability later on down the road when I can't work.
Aug 6, 2011 10:26AM
  It will not help giving out free birth control.  I have seen it so many times over the years as an ob-gyn nurse.  The only thing that well help is to tie their tubes.  I believe anyone can make a mistake once  or twice but when they come into the hospital every nine months  year after year  to have another baby with new tattoos,  more hair extensions and nails done to the tee,  and a different father,  while living off the taxpayers,  its time to cut, burn, and tie their tubes.    
Aug 6, 2011 12:03PM
This is for people with health insurance! Not people on welfare! Did anybody read that part?
Aug 6, 2011 1:43PM

First off, people please read this bill before yelling about giving to "LOW INCOME" people. This bill is for people WITH health insurance. As for low income people, there has been
"free" birth control out there for a long time. You can go to any health department and get pills, rubbers, foam, etc. for no cost. This won't help with a lot of health related problems for the poor though. We have to many kids having kids in this country. Don't put down people that need help. Remember the words:But for the Grace of God, there go I. Other words, any of us could be poor, we can't all have hug paying jobs. Most people in the country work 5 or 6 days a week for minium wage, sometimes two jobs, just to support the high cost of rent, groceries, etc.  STOP BLAMING EVERYTHING ON THE POOR.


Aug 6, 2011 8:44AM
Quite a few of the comments on here don't make any sense to me, "It isn't free if I'm paying for it!".

What would you rather pay for? Birth control or 18 years of a child's life(free health care, free school lunch, free child care, WIC, food stamps, cash aid, blah, blah, blah).

Aug 3, 2011 6:55PM
On a few occasions in the past, I've read that insurance could significantly cut premiums if they were to be willing to spend more on preventative measures rather than waiting until the lack of prevention has created a far more serious condition.  Free birth control is a step in the right direction.

There is another side of this too and that is getting people to take advantage of preventative measures.  Men are the worst at this.  I know, I hate to sit for a minute in a doctors office.  As much as I believe in prevention, whenever I have an odd ache or pain, my thought process goes to "It's not that bad.  It will go away soon, no reason to waste time at the doctor's office."  I also tend to put off physicals because I am in the well over 40 group that gets some "added" attention that I absolutely hate. 

Bottom line, insurance companies have to support more preventative medicine and the rest of us really need to take advantage of those preventative measures.

Aug 6, 2011 12:59PM
I don't understand why everyone thinks that birth control is just for sex. I am on it and was put on it to help health issues. I do not get any help from the government and before this my insurance only covered certain types of birth control. Its very expensive but is something that is needed, and this new guideline will help many people like me. This is only for people with health insurance, they never once mentioned people on welfare.
Aug 6, 2011 10:03AM
This isn't /just/ about pills, just saying... This is also disease screening and pap smears and check-ups with the ob/gyn that are ridiculously expensive and mammogram and shots for HPV and other things that are important. And the people saying this is "socialist" and should burn, yadda yadda yadda, I hope you realize that Europe and Asia has WAY better insurance plans than we do that covers everyone and they spend significantly less money than we do on healthcare while still taking care of their populations.
And besides.. people get birth control for free all the time, even now. No use being flustered over something that's already happening. What you CAN'T get for free is a pap smear that could possibly save a woman's life (to my knowledge).

Aug 6, 2011 1:05PM

Somewhere soon an attorney will win a paternity case for a man based on the fact that women now have the right to free contraceptives and the woman in question didn't use them.

Aug 6, 2011 6:35AM

This isnt "free" ADDS COSTS TO ALL HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS whether you take part in this "freebie" program or not..... WHY SHOULD I PAY FOR YOU TO HAVE SEX ?  OR YOUR BREAST PUMP?  THAT IS BS !!!!!


PAY FOR YOUR OWN !!!!  GET A JOB !!!!  NOONE IS PAYING FOR MY HEALTH CARE......when I didnt have it ...I DID WITHOUT IT ....SO CAN YOU !!!!  This idea of people WANTING TO LIVE OFF SOMEONE ELSE  needs to STOP .....

BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SELVES PEOPLE !!!!   Your health care and your procreation is NOT someone ELSE'S "problem".....ITS YOURS !

Aug 6, 2011 6:34AM
It is all well and good but you have women out there who actually get pregnant just so that they can get welfare and any form of aid.  But yet they have their nails done and go out shopping all the time.  Give me a break, most women won't even try to use it.  they like being on Maury and wondering who in the heck is the daddy.
Aug 6, 2011 1:43PM
Birth control isn't free under the plan.  The rules are for those who have health insurance and pay for the birth control through their premiums.  Who ever wrote the headline ought to be fired for gross incompetence.
Aug 3, 2011 5:42PM

This is a tiny victory. Now for the remaining poor women who are being forced to pay $250 to get started on birth control pills, more must be done to keep more children from being born into a $550 TANF per family + food stamps + medicaid + illegal activity lifestyle. What an embarassment for the richest country in the world to leave women and children in this situation for five years only when the responsible male party walked away. For shame! Then to leave the woman looking for a boyfriend to help pay the bills and being offered no birth control to avoid more children is absolutely idiocy.  


Another baby step is needed to give women a victory here -- mandate free birth control for all.

Aug 6, 2011 9:48AM
Someone wrote... "What would you rather pay for? Birth control or 18 years of a child's life(free health care, free school lunch, free child care, WIC, food stamps, cash aid, blah, blah, blah)."

Actually, I'd rather the government cut ALL of those programs down to the absolute bare minimum, so welfare is no longer an incentive to make babies in the first place...  The government needs to worry about governing the country, not sex by consenting adults...
Aug 6, 2011 2:07PM
By utilizing birth control, people are being responsible for themselves, genius. How can anyone be against family PLANNING???  Aren't enough children born into horrible living conditions as it is??  And btw, not everyone who is on welfare, or who has ever relied on welfare, some deadbeat drain on society. And most people on welfare are White, though I'm sure td49 doesn't know this, as he/she clearly does not know a lot of things. Not that this has anything whatsoever to do with women not having to pay ridiculous copays for their birth control anymore. It's just a way for td49 to try and distract those of us with working brains from the intelligence of this decision by the Obama administration.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.