Skip banner
HomeSourcesHow Do I?Site MapHelp
Return To Search FormFOCUS
Search Terms: contraceptive, insurance

Document ListExpanded ListKWICFULL format currently displayed

Previous Document Document 13 of 424. Next Document

Copyright 2000 P.G. Publishing Co.  
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

December 20, 2000, Wednesday, SOONER EDITION


LENGTH: 444 words



Women have been complaining for years that many health plans in the United States do not provide coverage for contraception, which is basic health care for millions of women. When those same plans almost instantly began paying for Viagra when that impotency treatment went on the market, the issue came center stage.

The cause of equal protection took a leap forward when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled recently that refusing coverage for contraception can be a violation of the Civil Rights Act and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which requires equal treatment of women "affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions." The EEOC said employers "may not discriminate in their health insurance plan by denying benefits for prescription contraceptives when they provide benefits for comparable drugs and devices."

While the ruling applies only to the two women who brought the case, it may have much broader ramifications, motivating employers to reconsider the coverage they offer.

More than three-quarters of health maintenance organization plans cover birth control pills, but only 60 percent of traditional plans do so. (The Post-Gazette health insurance plan covers neither birth control pills nor Viagra).

One of the arguments against paying for contraceptives is that the insurance covers only prevention of "abnormal" conditions, but many of those same plans pay for surgical sterilization or for Viagra without requiring a diagnosis of impotence.

Employers also complain about the cost, but the EEOC said cost considerations cannot be an excuse for discriminatory treatment. And advocates for the coverage point out that a single pregnancy costs more than years of contraception use.

Thirteen states have passed laws requiring most insurance plans that pay for prescription drugs to include contraceptive coverage. Pennsylvania is not one of them.

Part of the resistance, beyond cost, is the religious opposition of some who oppose contraceptive devices and prescriptions. The Roman Catholic Church, among others, argues that no employer or insurer should be required to provide such care.

They have a right to their opinions and to lobby for their cause. But their views should not trump the interests of millions of women who prefer to choose how many children to have and when to have them.

The fact that health plans pay for Viagra but don't pay for birth control pills is not the real issue; it is just a symptom of the problem -- since reversible contraceptive devices and pills are all prescribed for women, failing to cover those treatments are, by definition, discriminatory.

LOAD-DATE: December 20, 2000

Previous Document Document 13 of 424. Next Document


Search Terms: contraceptive, insurance
To narrow your search, please enter a word or phrase:
About LEXIS-NEXIS® Academic Universe Terms and Conditions Top of Page
Copyright © 2001, LEXIS-NEXIS®, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved.