Did anyone else realize that contraception for women wasn't covered by insurance while Viagra is? I had no idea!
After Viagra, it's time insurers covered the Pill
By REP. SENFRONIA THOMPSON
Health insurers are redlining the bedroom -- covering his side of the bed but not hers.
More than half of the nation's insurance companies rushed to cover Viagra when it first burst onto the market in 1998. Meanwhile, more than 30 years after its conception, two-thirds of all major group health insurers do not cover the Pill. In fact, half of these insurers cover no contraceptives at all.
There is no sound medical reason for insurers to cover Viagra but not contraceptives. Such discrimination partially explains why women's average out-of-pocket health-care expenses are 68 percent higher than those of men.
On April 9th, the Texas House Insurance Committee passed the Texas Contraceptive Parity bill that I authored to ensure that insurers practice contraceptive equity. Although the Texas Department of Insurance adopted contraceptive equity rules 23 years ago, they do not cover all contraceptive prescriptions, particularly those that the Food and Drug Administration has approved since the Pill. House Bill 2382 updates and expands Texas' contraceptive equity rules to also cover Norplant, Depo-Provera, the diaphragm and the IUD. It would greatly improve women's health care, while reducing the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in Texas.
Millions of Texas women rely on contraceptives to prevent or plan pregnancies, as well as to treat a variety of medical problems. During the first 20 years of her adult life -- as she postpones, plans and raises her family -- the average woman relies on a variety of contraceptives to meet her changing health-care needs. Contraceptives are prescribed for endometriosis, hormone replacement therapy, debilitating menstrual cycles, protection against ovarian cancer and other health-care concerns.
If this legislation fails, women might end up turning to the courts. So far, 14 states have pre-empted such legal action by enacting contraceptive parity laws. A class-action lawsuit already has been filed to reverse contraceptive inequities in Washington State on behalf of female employees whose insurance company refuses to cover prescription contraceptives. And the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently ruled that insurers are practicing unlawful sex discrimination in violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act by failing to cover prescription contraceptives when other prescription drugs and devices are covered.
HB 2382, the Texas Contraceptive Parity bill, would end long-standing discrimination by health insurers without the need for litigation. It would allow Texas women to make sound health decisions based on their own health-care needs. And it would reduce abortions by preventing unintended pregnancies.
And then, depression set in...