Thanks to (former) Governor Terry McAuliffe, you can now get 12 months of birth control at once in Virginia. That’s great! It’s cheaper and saves you time. What’s less great? Congressional Republicans are threatening the access and affordability of birth control in the Commonwealth.
How? By sabotaging the Affordable Care Act.
Women & The ACA: A History
Okay, so here’s the deal. When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, being a woman was no longer considered a pre-existing condition. Before the ACA, women paid higher premiums—or simply got denied coverage—just because they had a uterus and could theoretically have a baby at some point.
Also before the ACA, one-third of women who tried to buy a health plan on their own were:
- turned down
- charged a higher premium because of their gender OR
- had specific health services excluded from plans (like maternity care)
Since the ACA however, uninsured rates are at the lowest ever and women can’t be charged more for having a uterus. Maternity care is guaranteed, preventative services (like an annual exam) have no cost-sharing, and birth control is fully covered by insurance.
We ❤ birth control in Virginia, 12 months at a time
Birth control costs money. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance is required to fully cover birth control. That matters because without that benefit, a third of all women would not be able to pay for birth control on their own if it cost more than $10 a month.
Last year, Governor Terry McAulliffe signed a bill that allows birth control user to receive 12 months of birth control at a time. This is a BIG DEAL.
Being able to buy 12 months of birth control saves women money and cuts down on time needed to go to the doctor and the pharmacy—even men benefit from birth control.
Many hormonal birth control methods are taken every day. In the course of her childbearing years, even a woman who eventually has two kids will likely use some form of birth control for three decades or more.
For women who live in a contraception desert—areas where pharmacies are scarce—getting to the doctor or pharmacy on a regular basis is a challenge, so buying 12 months of birth control at a time is not only less expensive, but much easier for women who can’t get to a pharmacy often.
Also, it’s all about the money. Having access to a full year of birth control pills could reduce the rate of unintended pregnancies 30 percent. You know what?
A year of birth control is cheaper than an unintended pregnancy for everyone.
Under the Affordable Care Act, those 12 months of birth control are co-pay free if it’s dispensed every month, every three months, or once a year. The cost of transportation (particularly in a contraception desert), time away from work and family, and childcare costs are lower the less a woman needs to go to a doctor or pharmacy.
Twelve months of birth control makes life easier for everyone (Thanks Terry!), but Congressional Republicans are working to that ease away from everyone.
Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress Will Take Away Your Birth Control
Since passing a terrible #TaxScam, Trump and his cronies are gearing up to replace the Affordable Care Act. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, your 12 months of birth control won’t be co-pay free.
If 33% of women can’t afford even a single $10 payment for one month of birth control, it’s likely that even more won’t be able to take advantage of the cost-savings of buying 12 months of birth control at a time.
The progress we made in Virginia for women’s reproductive freedom is threatened by the ongoing sabotage of the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act, 12 months of birth control, and cost-sharing free birth control all work together to help women have reproductive freedom. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would jeopardize the care women deserve and put birth control at risk.
Take action right now to help protect birth control access and affordability in Virginia.