Reproductive rights groups petitioning for elimination of birth control co-pays

Reproductive rights groups petitioning for elimination of birth control co-pays

Reproductive justice groups all over the country — including in Miami — are petitioning the feds to eliminate co-pays for birth control through the Affordable Care Act.

Through the health care reform law, women will not have to make co-payments for preventative care that ranges from Pap smears to breast exams. However, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is waiting for recommendations from the Institute of Medicine that will include other services they say should be included.

MI LOLA, a reproductive justice organization based in Miami, is hoping that the Institute of Medicine will recommend including birth control — and, recently, it was announced that the Institute will be doing just that.

Jersey Garcia, of MI LOLA, says that she is a great example of why this is a necessary step. ”I planned my first two pregnancies,” she says. “But now I can’t because I can’t afford birth control through my insurance.”

Garcia had previously used an intrauterine device (an IUD) before having her second child. However, once she had her baby and sought to get an IUD again, she learned it would cost her $800.

“My insurance said they would pay for the insertion, but not the actual device,” she explains. “So, I couldn’t do it. It was too expensive.”

She says that birth control pills would not be a good option either. Through her health insurance, birth control pills would cost her $50-60 per month. She says that, with the added expense of having a new baby, she could not make those payments every month.

“This time, I can’t plan my pregnancies,” she says. “I just can’t afford it.” She says eliminating co-payments will allow other women like her to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

“Birth control is most definitely part of preventative care,” Garcia says.

Garcia, along with MI LOLA, is launching a month-long campaign called “Contraception is Prevention-NO co-pays for birth control.” The group is working with Raising Women’s Voices, which has organized around this issue, to petition Sebelius for her support.