Mandated Contraceptive Coverage Supported By Majority Of Americans

While the Supreme Court is considering challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate, a recent poll finds that the majority of Americans—69 percent—support mandated coverage of birth control in health plans. The study was conducted by the University of Michigan Health System and is reported in the article, Attitudes About Mandated Coverage of Birth Control Medication and Other Health Benefits in a U.S. National Sample.

Contraceptive mandate. The ACA amended Public Health Service Act (PHSA) Sec. 2713 to require insurance policies to provide at no cost to the beneficiary various preventive care services, including methods of contraception approved by the FDA, as well as related appointments, counseling, and education. Exceptions exist for religious employers—employers that are organized and operate as nonprofit entities under Code Secs. 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (ii). An exception also exists for non-profit employers who complete a self-certification form stating that they hold themselves out as religious organizations and that they object to some or all of the mandated contraceptive services.

Demographics are key. The study found that women, blacks, Hispanics, parents with children under the age of 18 at home, and adults with private or public insurance were significantly more likely than other adults to support universal coverage of birth control medications. Less than 10 percent of respondents supported requirements for other medical services requirements, such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and vaccinations, but did not think that contraceptives should be mandated. This group included a significantly higher proportion of men, adults over the age of 60, and individuals without children in the household, the researchers noted.

“In this study, women, blacks, and Hispanics were more likely to support coverage of birth control medications than were men, older individuals and adults without children in the home. In other words, support is higher among individuals who may be more likely to directly benefit from affordable birth control,” said Michelle Moniz, an OB/GYN and researcher at the University of Michigan Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation clinical scholar.

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