FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2016
JUNEAU – Today, Representative Matt Claman (D-Anchorage) introduced House Bill 345 that would require health insurance providers to cover 12 months of prescription oral contraceptives at a time. The bill would improve women’s access to reliable birth control across Alaska, overall reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the State, and reduce the complexity of healthcare delivery.
Currently, women who use oral contraceptives must return to the pharmacy every one to three months to refill their prescription. This requirement can be challenging for Alaskan women, particularly in rural areas.
Access to consistent and reliable birth control allows women to control family planning and thereby reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. Studies show that women who have a consistent 12-month supply of oral contraceptives have 46% fewer abortions than women who have to get refills every month.
“This session is ‘all about the budget’ and that’s exactly what this bill is about,” said Rep. Claman. “Unintended pregnancies have a profound effect on economic opportunity and the overall well-being of Alaskan families. They are also a dramatic cost driver to public health programs.”
Nationally, 51% of all U.S. births and 68% of unplanned births in 2010 were paid for by public insurance through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and the Indian Health Service.
Senator Berta Gardner (D-Anchorage) introduced the companion bill, Senate Bill 156, which also requires health insurance providers to cover 12 months of prescription oral contraceptives. Senator Gardner’s bill will receive a hearing in the Senate Health and Social Services Committee this afternoon.
HB 345 has been referred to the House Health and Social Services and Finance Committees.
For more information, contact Meghan Cavanaugh in Rep. Claman’s office at (907) 465-4919.