Birth control used to be a big part of young women’s out-of-pocket health costs.
Women are saving a lot of money as a result of a health law requirement that insurance cover most forms of prescription contraceptives with no additional out-of-pocket costs, a study finds. But the amount of those savings and the speed with which the savings accrued surprised researchers.
The average birth control pill user saved $255 in the first year after the requirement took affect, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Health Affairs. The average user of an intrauterine device (IUD) saved $248. Those savings represented a significant percentage of average out-of-pocket costs.
“These are healthy women and this on average is their No. 1 need from the health care system,” said Nora Becker, an MD-PhD candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and lead author of the study. “On average, these women were spending about 30 to 44 percent of their total out-of-pocket [health] spending just on birth control.”
The study looked at out-of-pocket spending from nearly 800,000 women between the ages of 13 and 45 from January 2008 through June 2013. For most plans, the Affordable Care Act requirement began Aug. 1, 2012, or Jan. 1, 2013.
So-called “grandfathered” health plans, those that have not substantially changed their benefits since
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