Institute of Medicine Report on Clinical Preventive Services for Women: A Statement from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Jul 19 2011

(Washington, DC) -- Today the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Women's Preventive Services Study Committee recommended that health insurers cover "the full range of Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity" without co-pays or deductibles for patients. The IOM also recommended including at least one well-woman preventive care visit annually for women.

The widely-anticipated IOM report, Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps, was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to help HHS develop guidelines as required by the Affordable Care Act about which women's preventive services will be covered with no co-sharing.

"The National Campaign enthusiastically supports IOM's recommendations that contraceptive methods, as well as education and counseling, be included as a preventive service free from cost sharing and urges HHS to incorporate IOM's recommendation in its final guidance," said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "The IOM recommendations underscore what we have known for decades -- that access to affordable and effective contraception improves health, shrinks costs to the individual and society, reduces abortion, and helps to promote stronger families."

At present, fully one-half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Unplanned pregnancy costs taxpayers an estimated $11 billion a year. In addition to direct medical costs, it imposes burdens on individuals and families, as well as considerable social and economic costs to society.

Contraception is both widely used and broadly supported. Ninety-nine percent of women have used contraception. In addition, the vast majority of young adults report they want to avoid pregnancy in their lives right now. Providing coverage of contraception with no cost-sharing is in line with public opinion. Recent polls have found that 84 percent of voters believe in the importance of family planning as basic preventive health care. Additionally, 82 percent of Americans favor expanding access to birth control for women who cannot afford it, compared to only 16 percent who oppose it. This support is strong across all demographic, religious, and political groups. For example, 90 percent of Evangelical Christians support contraception.

The full IOM report is available here.

Download a PDF version of this press release.

About The National Campaign: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families. Our specific strategy is to prevent teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults. We support a combination of responsible values and behavior by both men and women and responsible policies in both the public and private sectors. If we are successful, child and family well-being will improve. Please visit www.TheNationalCampaign.org to find out more.

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