Women’s Health Insurance Inequities

Women’s Health Insurance Inequities (2000)

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:

  1. Contact their Members of Congress through personal meetings, phone calls, letters, faxes, or email – to urge them to support passage of the “Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act,” which would mandate equitable insurance coverage of prescription contraceptive drugs and devices and contraceptive services under health plans, and help bring parity to men’s and women’s out-of-pocket insurance expenses.
  2. Thank legislators for passing contraceptive equity laws in California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Vermont.
  3. Further encourage legislators in the following 13 states which have similar legislation pending: Alaska, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin to pass contraceptive equity laws;
  4. Contact legislators in the following 11 states which rejected this legislation: Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and West Virginia, and ask them to reconsider.