The price of birth-control pills

Filed Under: Costs, Patients

“For millions of American women, birth control is beyond their reach,” writes Debra Marcus, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of South Central New York. “For uninsured women, out-of-pocket costs are prohibitive; even for women with health insurance, related co-payments are often unaffordable. More than a third of women have struggled with the cost of prescription birth control at some point and have thus failed to use it consistently.

“A woman with insurance faces co-pays of $15 to $50 a month ($180 to $600 annually) for birth control pills and hundreds of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for longer-acting methods. Studies show that when cost barriers are removed, women switch quickly to more effective methods, and experience fewer unintended pregnancies — a critical outcome in a nation where nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended. Ultimately, removing cost barriers to birth control could mean as much today as removing legal barriers did a half-century ago.”

The piece is pegged to a 1965 Supreme Court decision, Griswold vs. Connecticut, in which the court struck down a Connecticut law making it illegal for married couples to use birth control.

Affordable contraception is vital to women’s health care, Press &Sun-Bulletin, the Gannett paper in Binghamton N.Y. , via its Web site,