Sisterhood Blog

Free Birth Control Coverage for All — Err, Some?

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
Obamacare supporters react to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold President Obama’s health care law, on June 28, 2012 in Washington, DC.

Last week, the preventative health measures of the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) officially went on the books.

This was the day feminists longed for and religious conservatives dreaded: the beginning of the end of co-pays for contraception as well as ob-gyn “well woman” visits, STD testing, domestic violence counseling and other preventative measures. It was the most excited I’ve seen the sexual health community in a long time — and I should note with a smile that as the rule change rolled into effect, the religious institutions that had been lobbying so hard against it remained intact. Satan was not unleashed. Hedonists weren’t having consequence-free sex on the altars of local cathedrals and synagogues. In fact, things remained pretty much the same, except thousands of women felt a slight lessening of their daily financial burdens. Case in point, a photo of a receipt for contraception with zero charge on it began to circulate.

But then again, the change was not as sweeping as some — including me – had hoped. After I dropped off my new birth control prescription, I went online and saw that bloggers and social media buddies had run to the pharmacy to pick up pills and discovered the same old co-pay. Why? First, because the “no co-pay” rules do not kick in for those of us on non-generic birth control. Second, they have yet to kick in for those of us whose plans renew in January. In other words, most of the working world.

“Under the ACA, wouldn’t my co-pay be eliminated?” I asked my pharmacist when he handed me a bill for my birth control — with the usual charge. “Not according to the insurance company,” he replied. Reluctantly, I joined their ranks and forked over my not inconsiderable co-pay.

It’s interesting how much our hopes were raised by this victory. When I think of the couple hundred dollars almost all my colleagues and friends spend on contraception each year — those who are moms already, those who want to become moms in the future, those who will never become moms and those who are undecided — I used to see it as a burden we all had to deal with. Now, I can imagine that money going toward a foreign language course. A plane ticket. Charity or Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaigns. Food for our pantries and gifts for our loved ones. I realize that the cost of contraception co-pays, which buy the same autonomy our male counterparts have, is essentially a tax on gender.

And I can’t wait for that benefit to kick in, not in the abstract but in a way that’s very personal. Besides, as Jodi Jacobson wrote recently, this benefit isn’t free. We’re buying in:

If you have insurance, you pay for it, either by virtue of your labor or out of your own pocket, or, depending on the situation, both. And under the ACA, it is now mandated that your insurance plan cover certain benefits without a co-pay. This does not make them “free.” It means that you are paying for that service as part of your premium. You earned it, you paid for it, it is yours. If you pay for it, you deserve to get it.

Many of us will be keeping that thought in mind in January when our benefits really do kick in.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: jewish women, birth control, obamacare

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.