A new study from the Guttmacher Institute published this week shows definitive proof that the Affordable Care Act is good for women. According to the report, the percentage of privately insured U.S. women paying zero out-of-pocket dollars for contraceptives grew exponentially between fall 2012 and spring 2014.
For its Continuity and Change in Contraceptive Use study, the Guttmacher Institute surveyed women aged 18 to 39 four times over the course of two years and found that those paying nothing out of pocket for oral contraceptives grew from 15 percent to 67 percent between the time period prior to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement and after its implementation.
In addition to birth control pills, the number of women paying zero out-of-pocket dollars for other forms of contraception grew: the vaginal ring (20 percent to 74 percent), injectable contraceptives (27 percent to 59 percent) and IUDs (45 percent to 62 percent).
Not all of Guttmacher’s findings are positive, however. The study identifies ongoing gaps in coverage for some women, including those whose insurers charge co-payments for services from a provider outside of her insurer’s network or whose employer’s insurance offerings are exempt from the contraceptive mandate because of religious affiliation.
Despite the gaps, Adam Sonfield, senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, remains optimistic. “[The ACA’s] impact will continue to grow as its protections are phased in,” he says. “The proportion of workers enrolled in ‘grandfathered’ plans—existing plans given a temporary reprieve from many of the ACA’s rules—has been declining rapidly, as Congress intended, from 48 percent in 2012 to just 26 percent in 2014.”