The New Jersey Assembly has approved legislation requiring insurance companies to cover the costs for dispensing a supply of up to six months of contraceptives at a time.
Today the Assembly voted 60-2-6 to pass bill A2297 after Governor Chris Christie issued a conditional veto of the original legislation, which called for 12 months of birth control to be dispensed at a time and covered by insurance. The bi-partisan legislation passed with overwhelming support in both the Assembly and Senate, but Christie changed the legislation to limit insurance coverage for contraceptives to only six months. Today the Assembly voted to accept the changes and now the legislation also has to be passed by the Senate.
“For birth control to be most effective, consistency is critical,” said Christine Sadovy, legislative and political director for Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey. “For many women in New Jersey, whether they are working multiple jobs or have young children to care for, receiving only one-month’s supply of contraceptives at a time can be a hurdle to effective use. Increasing the supply of birth control pills or other contraceptive method a woman can take home with her removes a major barrier to consistent and effective contraception use.”
Currently, private insurance companies will only allow pharmacies and health care providers to dispense a one or three-month supply of oral contraceptives.
Studies show that decreasing barriers to contraceptive access improves women’s use of birth control, decreases inconvenience for women, and reduces health care costs by improving consistent use of a birth control method and decreasing unintended pregnancy. According to a study from University of California at San Francisco, dispensing a one-year supply of birth control at a time is associated with a 30 percent reduction in the likelihood of unplanned pregnancy.