Insurance firms preventing California women from having easy access to birth control

Insurance firms preventing California women from having easy access to birth control

Last month, California lawmakers passed a measure to provide women easy access to birth control pills if they don’t want pregnancy, but insurance companies are creating a hurdle on the way.

Health experts say that hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills are safe, and the required daily dose isn’t a problem. But, the ease and continuity in getting the prescription refilled is apparently becoming a problem because insurance companies require women to a new prescription refill every few months.

Getting a new prescription requires such women to get a qualified doctor’s appointment, which makes the Senate Bill 999 that authorizes pharmacists to dispense birth control pills if the patient asks for it without a doctor’s appointment, ineffective.

That additional step is enough to make women miss a dose, which can cause an unintended pregnancy.

Deborah Rotenberg, a legal counsel at Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, said, “A one-day gap could cause an unintended pregnancy, and the medical and financial consequences of that are enormous. Why not provide women the most robust coverage and access to contraception we can in California?”

Earlier in 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a similar bill into law to allow pharmacists to prescribe oral, vaginal, transdermal, and Depo-Provera injection birth control methods without a doctor’s appointment. But, that bill failed to serve the purpose because the law left a loophole for pharmacies and insurance companies by not making the service obligatory.