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Reproductive Women Declared High Maintenance… Part One

Jul 2nd, 2009

womenDuring the reproductive years, reproductive women between the age of fifteen and forty-four are a great drain on the health insurance industry.  During these years, reproductive women require constant screening and medical services in the form of breast screening, pap smears, abortions, preventative contraception, and testing for diseases such as HPV, Chlamydia, and HIV/Aids.

During the reproductive years, if a woman is planning to have two children, the likelihood is she will spend 30 years using one form of contraception or another.  There are now three types of contraception methods available – reversible, non-reversible, and emergency contraception.  Reversible contraception includes condoms, birth control pills, and injectables.   While Caucasian women prefer birth control pills and condoms, women of color seem to prefer injectables to the other options available.  Non-reversible contraception generally refers to sterilization and is generally the choice of older women.

The other option, called Emergency contraception, includes all the morning after pill, or EC, which has proven to be effective if used within a few days of intercourse.  If the woman is already pregnant, EC doesn’t affect the pregnancy.  The federal level of the government has approved the morning after pill to be sold over the counter at pharmacies if a woman is eighteen or older.  Women, who are under eighteen, must have a prescription from a doctor.  Each state has their own policy with several states allowing EC to be sold over the pharmacy counter, and sixteen states allow emergency rooms to provide the morning after pill to victims of sexual assault.  Also, some states allow pharmacies the right to refuse to sell EC over the counter if it is against their religious or moral beliefs.

Although health insurance coverage has improved over the years, there is no federal law requiring employer sponsored programs to cover contraception products, but there are some state laws that require employer sponsored plans, except when religious or moral beliefs are affected, to supply contraceptive coverage as part of their policies.  Today, approx. two-thirds of all health insurance plans cover contraceptive products and usages, although some plans do not cover all methods of contraception.

As a rule, self funded plans, which cover half of all workers in America, generally purchased by the self-employed, micro businesses, and small businesses do not cover the cost of contraceptive devices; therefore, this becomes an added expense for the self-employed individual and his family.

When this happens, the self-employed person has no option but to turn to Medicaid for assistance.  Today, more than seven million uninsured women rely on Medicaid for their healthcare needs, and that is growing daily in our current economic downswing.

To learn more, read tomorrow’s article

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