Birth Control is an Economic Issue9:21 pm - 09/30/2012
A new study from the Guttmacher Institute reveals what you no doubt already know: Women use birth control because it gives them more control over their lives. They reported that staying baby-free for as long as they choose gives them more freedom to achieve their goals, such as completing an education, getting or keeping a job, and supporting themselves financially, according to research set to be published in the journal Contraception.
That point about controlling their finances was major. Of the 2,094 women surveyed, the most common reason they cited for using birth control was a financial one. Sixty-five percent of survey respondents said they use BC because they can’t afford to have a baby.
“Women’s reasons for using contraception are in many ways reflections of their concern about the consequences an unintended pregnancy would have on their lives, especially during periods of economic stress,” says study co-author Jennifer Frost, Ph.D.
Not a surprise to us—when we asked our Twitter followers why they love birth control, money was something a number of them mentioned.
Even Bigger Financial Benefits
And here’s something else: Not does birth control help women keep their finances in check on a microeconomic, individual level, but research shows that it can also reduce the strain on government services like Medicaid.
Existing Guttmacher Institute data on publicly funded contraceptive services shows that every dollar invested in helping women avoid unintended pregnancies saved $3.74 in related Medicaid expenditures. To put it simply: A dollar spent on pregnancy prevention is $3.74 saved. This stat is even more eye-opening when you consider that one in five babies born in the United States are the result of unintended pregnancies (according to data published in Contraception in 2011).
How to Save Even More
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, women with health insurance can now get their birth control for free. We’re sure you already know this, but the Affordable Care Act allows insured women to receive preventative care services, including well-woman visits and contraception, without a co-payment, co-insurance, or a deductible. (Read more about which women’s health services are covered here.)
If you already have insurance, the changes will take effect once your plan is renewed for the new fiscal year. It could have happened when the provision of the ACA went into effect on August 1, or it can happen anytime before August 1, 2013, depending on the particulars of your plan. Call your insurance provider to find out the specifics or, if you’re insured through work, reach out to your human resources or benefits department. Note: If your insurance plan is through a religious institution, they are not required to provide these services without a co-pay and they have until August 1, 2013, to make their decision about whether they intend to opt out.