California Health Providers Haven't Seen Uptick in Contraception Demand Related to New Laws

July 29, 2013 — Demand for contraception has not increased in California, despite the enactment of several state and federal laws aimed at increasing access to birth control, HealthyCal reports (Flores, HealthyCal, 7/25).

Last year, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law a bill (AB 2348) that allows registered nurses to distribute and administer birth control according to a standard procedure. The law "also allows RNs to dispense drugs and devices upon an order by a certified nurse-midwife, a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant while functioning within specified clinic settings." The measure -- which was introduced by Assembly Member Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) -- took effect Jan. 1 (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/24/12).

Meanwhile, an Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) provision requiring insurers to cover contraceptives at no additional cost to consumers went into effect in August 2012.

Californians' Demand for Birth Control, Educating Consumers

Officials with Planned Parenthood and Kaiser Permanente say there has been no significant change in the number of California women who request birth control or in the types of contraception requested. Lupe Rodriguez -- director of public affairs at Planned Parenthood of Mar Monte -- said it is "hard to tell" the impact that the ACA has had on contraception use because about 80% of the organization's patients are uninsured or underinsured.

Rodriguez said that Planned Parenthood has seen an increase in the number of women requesting long-acting reversible contraception options -- such as intrauterine devices -- but that the increase might be the result of drug manufacturers' advertising campaigns.

Both Planned Parenthood and Kaiser said they are implementing policies to better inform patients of their contraceptive options.

Kaiser also noted that it launched a nationally consistent preventive care plan that complies with ACA requirements (HealthyCal, 7/25).