July 7, 2015 — House lawmakers in a letter last week asked HHS to issue new regulations that would require insurers to cover one year's worth of contraception in a single batch without cost-sharing, The Hill reports.
According to The Hill, most insurers currently cover only one- to three-month supplies of contraception without cost-sharing. Experts have said that the limited batches can lead to gaps in use and increased rates of unintended pregnancies.
In the letter, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and colleagues asked HHS to change how insurers cover prescriptions for birth control to include 12-month supplies. "Birth control has helped give women the freedom to decide when they want to start a family, and providing a 12-month supply ensures that women can plan long-term rather than for a few months at a time," Speier said.
Speier also cited research showing that a year-long supply of contraception lowered the risk of unintended pregnancy by 30% compared with women who receive one- to three-months' worth of birth control at a time.
According to The Hill, several states have passed or are considering laws requiring insurers to cover 12-month supplies of birth control. For example, Oregon (HB 3343) and Washington, D.C., have advanced such legislation, and New York added a similar provision to a package of bills governing women's health and contraception. Meanwhile, California and Washington state are evaluating related measures (Wheeler, The Hill, 7/2).