A 1994 study conducted by the Alan Guttmacher Institute revealed that while most insurance policies in the U.S. cover prescription drugs in general, the vast majority does not include equitable coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices. As the primary recipients of prescription contraceptives, women are disproportionately affected by this lack of coverage. While for more than three decades, women and women’s advocates have pushed, in vain, to gain insurance coverage for women’s contraceptives, insurance companies quickly included Viagra in their prescription drug programs as soon as it appeared on the U.S. market in 1998.
According to the Women’s Research and Education Institute, women currently pay 68% more than men for out-of-pocket medical care expenses, many of which are related to reproductive health supplies and services. This crucial medication to prevent pregnancy provides real health benefits, including the prevention of some forms of cancer. By requiring insurance companies to cover the costs of women’s contraceptives, one of the inequities in women’s health care coverage would be eliminated.
Over the past year, legislators in 33 states and in the U.S. Congress have introduced contraceptive equity bills to require insurance companies to provide coverage for women’s contraceptives in their prescription drug programs. During the 106th Session of Congress, Senators Olympia Snowe and Harry Reid, and Representatives James Greenwood and Nita Lowey introduced the “Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act.”
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism calls on its members to: