What Else, Besides Contraception, Is Covered?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Usha Ranji, associate director for Women's Health Policy at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, looks at what, besides contraception, must be covered in all health insurance plans under the Affordable Health Care Act.


Usha Ranji

Comments [48]

My nominee for the first place face-slap rhetoric of the ongoing discussion:

"It’s as if we passed a law requiring mosques to sell bacon and then, when people objected, responded by saying “What’s wrong with bacon? You’re trying to ban bacon!!!!"
(see, Instapundit for February 16, 2012 (
[Truth in Rhetoric Notice: Putting the term "bacon" into his search engine calls up an infinity of references.]

My nominee for second place is the comment of "amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night" posted below.

Feb. 16 2012 06:54 PM

@Ed from Larchmont:

Everything he says says that Brian is all about the science.
I'm sure that whenever it is "scientifically" demonstrated that such physical phenomenon such as "pheotasi" have any "humanity" in them at all, say, the ability to appreciate and support the "anthropomorphic global warming hypothesis" narrative, Brian will enthusiastically lend the "right-to-life-fervor" to them that he extends to his colleague Hockenberry or children with autism.

Feb. 16 2012 09:18 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Brian Lehrer is very insouciant about 'unwanted' children: well, there is the cost of abortion. What if this is a human being, which is what science indicates? What then?

Feb. 16 2012 06:08 AM

Oh, amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night, are you truly a dialogue seeker or a mere sardonic suitor?

" . . . Additionally, nearly half of small-business owners point to potential healthcare costs (48%) and government regulations (46%) as reasons. One in four are not hiring because they worry they may not be in business in 12 months. . . ."

(Come to think of it, the services mandated by the president (of the United States) won't have any bearing on the costs that are the concern of this survey since those services are mandated to be free) (did I get that right?)

Feb. 15 2012 11:07 PM

Can we please stop the phony claim that The Kaiser Foundation is nonpartisan. CEO Drew Altman has a long history of promoting and supporting socialized medicine.

Feb. 15 2012 07:02 PM
amalgam from NYC by day, NJ by night

@ ge Taylor - That bit about "collectivism," from the American Spectator no less, is very rugged individualistic of you.

Glad to see that a person can truly remain an "island" unto him or herself. Very appealing, very realistic.

Feb. 15 2012 03:51 PM

" . . . Collectivism is often very appealing to Christians who want to do good for their neighbors. Unfortunately, collectivism is frequently a fellow-traveler of aggressive secularism with little respect for religious liberty. The veil has slipped. I hope we do not too quickly forget what was revealed in that moment. Collectivism gives. But it also takes. And what it takes is very often precious and irreplaceable."

Also see:

Feb. 15 2012 01:01 PM

Well I guess we've moved beyond the "you-can-keep-the-insurance-you-have" prevarication purveyed by Obamacare's facilitator.

Feb. 15 2012 12:16 PM
Linda from Malverne, NY

Pay now or pay later? If government doesn't make health care, including contraception and preventive care services, available to all those who wish to use them, we will pay later when illness arises or unwanted children are not properly cared for. That is unless we are going to become a society where those, who for a variety of reasons can't care for themselves, are ignored and left to suffer or die.

Making these services available doesn't take away our personal liberty. Instead, it gives everyone the freedom to make choices about their lives that are otherwise only available to those who have the financial means.

Feb. 15 2012 11:23 AM
Ed from New Jersey

The insurance companies pass along the costs of mandates,think about the rise in health care premiums. Private purchased health insurance is unaffordable for individuals, has risen for employees and employers. More affordable choices that allow individuals to choose coverage best for their situation and is portable might be better.

Feb. 15 2012 11:17 AM

single payer NOW

Feb. 15 2012 10:57 AM
Edward from NJ

The reason for these mandates is to make cost comparisons between plans easier. If one plan costs $1500/month and another costs $500/month, a person might sign up for the less expensive one only to find that they're paying a lot more out-of-pocket for routine care. With these mandates, you can feel safe buying a less expensive plan knowing that certain fundamentals are covered. There's something to be said for the savvy shopper deciding to go with a catastrophic plan, but as we can see from the current mortgage crisis, less savvy shoppers can make choices that hurt the greater society -- not just themselves.

Feb. 15 2012 10:50 AM

Anonymous from New York:

Can you consider the idea that we don't need to give so much power to all that identification with so-called "high risk" - Consider all the people who are "high risk" who DON'T get ovarian cancer - like a lady I know who was almost 102 when she died of old age after a lifetime of smoking like a chimney (no cancer for her!) Or of people who never smoked and do get cancer. The medical community does not have the last word on your medical future - or your medical condition. Check out the work of Donna Eden and David Feinstein (David who taught at Johns Hopkins med school, Donna who cured herself of MS after 5 MDs (specialists) told her she needed to find a mother for her children because she had so little time to live.) There are initiatives we can take on our own behalf that don't cost a dime. (except maybe the books or if you want to take a class.)

Feb. 15 2012 10:47 AM

I'm sorry - I can't stand hearing MALES talking about MY Body!!!!

LEARN FIRST TO INFORM, THEN TO THINK FOR YOURSELF instead of rattling off talking points with no idea of what you are talking about!!! My body is none of your business. My choice is whether or not to support a pregnancy - a zygote can't live without a womb. Why not go after the males who don't support their children? Why not find some accountability in those whose sperm is involved if you are so hell bent on your so-call protection of the so-called unborn.

IT'S MY BODY!!! Not your body. As for the other preventive measures, Obama is trying to manage costs that will be far greater without intervention. Do you have any idea what it costs to treat cancer? Do you know how many people now have cancer? One in 4 is the latest I've heard.

Shots I take in the USA cost $200.00/day. My friend in the UK pays 14 pounds for hers. This is because big pharma negotiates different prices in different countries. Get real!!!

Feb. 15 2012 10:35 AM
Steve from Manhattan

Who are we kidding? Has ANYONE ever seen a health insurance company lower rates because they didn't have to provide a certain service or were allowed to receive co-pays? Has any insurance company NOT annually raised their rates as high as the law allows?? Wake up -- these companies are in business solely to make money, and they hold our health and personal well being hostage in order to do so. The reason this left-winger opposes Obama's health care policy is that it enshrines these insurance companies into the equation in the first place. Single payer is the obvious and ONLY program that will support human health over corporate profit.

Feb. 15 2012 10:34 AM

AUGH! Why do you continue to refer to the health care law as Obama's health care!!??!! If you referred to it by it's proper name -- Affordable Health Care -- people might begin to understand what it's really about. Also in response to Mr. Slippery Slope of individual responsibility -- why not again point out that the more people and health care procedures are covered -- especially preventative -- the lower health care will be for the society. It's so frustrating that we can't talk about it accurately -- it may not be perfect but it's better than what we had before.

Feb. 15 2012 10:34 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Wow...How can an audience I consider to be otherwise intelligent be so clouded on this issue? Health care providers ALWAYS enumerate what is covered and not covered therapy and procedure. Otherwise, quackery results. There can be some discussion about new and alternative treatements, indeed this disagreement is part of what it takes to become a standard. However, birth control, pregnancy and well-baby care, geriatric treatment ARE NOT quackery. They are an accepted part of the standard medical practice. What is a fact is that US medical care consumes 17% of GDP and other developed countries that have single payer systems are paying 10.5%-14% of GDP. Americans are being ripped off under the current, private insurance system and I am afraid that being ripped off has become the new American way.

Feb. 15 2012 10:33 AM
RJ from prospect hts

There's a semantic debate going on here, as through so many issues today. Tim uses "dictate." I would suggest "offer" instead. If people are "offered" these services, they have the "freedom," his word, to "choose" to use these services. Those either without coverage or who can't afford these services--through no fault of their own, layoffs, poverty--have no choice--no freedom. "Choose" has been a big right-wing argument against government involvement in health care--that is, making sure people are insured, not "controlling," or "dictating"--freedom to "choose" health care providers. Well, why isn't the freedom to choose among a broad offering of health care needs as important? One person can choose colonoscopy screening or choose HIV screening or choose prostate cancer screening or choose Rx coverage for Viagra--or choose contraceptive care. No one will choose them all--that's what insurance has always been intended to be: shared costs, as a community, so that all are cared for. Studies are helpful but not determinative: if in a given 10-year period there's a lot of work on obesity, then screening for that can be seen as a "luxury"; if in another or overlapping 10-year period there's a lot of work on prostate screening, then that can be seen as a luxury. There is a moral argument that we all should be caring for each other, and that over time, if there's a net dollar cost, the moral cost is such a superior weight on the balance scale that the argument, societally, would be moot.

Feb. 15 2012 10:33 AM

Is it just me or has this contraception conversation been THOROUGHLY discussed??

I'm SICK of a group of sexually dubious MEN telling women how they should conduct their sex lives.

Show these Katholic Klowns the door, already!!!


Feb. 15 2012 10:32 AM
John A.

I love the clear - bad - example at many CVS'es. In order to get your E.G. diabetes medicine at the back of the store, you have to pass no fewer than two rows full of candies, followed by the salty snacks for those with blood pressure problems. Permission vs prevention.

Feb. 15 2012 10:31 AM

Brian, it is not Obamacare. Please correct you guest and callers. It is the Affordable Care Act and it is an American law.

Feb. 15 2012 10:28 AM
Jeff Goodman

This "slippery slope" talk about features you require of health insurance is absurd. Suppose someone who runs a company is part of a religion which doesn't believe in blood transfusions? Does that give that person the right to only offer health insurance that excludes transfusions? And what about the owner of a business who believe in certain kind of child immunizations? One colleague at my office who has a religious issue with contraception said sid "well, the employee can find another job where the things they want on a health plan are covered."

Feb. 15 2012 10:28 AM

Bishops are the devil's work!

Feb. 15 2012 10:28 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I'd rather have a democratically elected gov't. mandate what insurance co's. must cover than have care denied by the insurance co's., the way they do now.

Feb. 15 2012 10:27 AM
dustin from Manhattan

The last caller really doesn't see the point here. The mandate in my opinion is to help offset the systematic and disgusting practice of providing ONLY unhealthy food, care, and habits to the needy and their children. Let's mandate a healthy America, what does the slippery slope matter? Are you afraid of being healthy?

Feb. 15 2012 10:27 AM
John A.

Denise from Manhattan,
Is there a direct link? I know there's an indirect link:
contraception -> delayed motherhood -> increased breast cancer.

Feb. 15 2012 10:26 AM
David Mellor from New Brunswick, NJ

The current caller commented that no study has shown the cost-effectiveness of providing contraception. This is not true, and the caller should be called out on that false assertion. There is a large body of evidence showing the cost effectiveness of contraception. The first example I found through a quick google scholar search: "The economic value of contraception: a comparison of 15 methods. Trussell et al 1995, American Journal of Public Health".

Another point that needs to be addressed by this caller is the use of a "slippery slope" argument against providing any particular service. This is not a valid argument against any single point, the value or justice of the service or mandate must be argued for or against on its own terms, fear of future potential changes do not affect the current point in question.

Feb. 15 2012 10:26 AM
Bob Burford

A quick look at the internet, if correct, shows that contraception runs between $160 and $600 per year, while the cost of a normal delivery averages out at about $7,000

Feb. 15 2012 10:25 AM
Nicole from nyc

Hi Brian,
It would seem to make sense to look at the broader picture of this rather than just the arguements of what is mandated. We have about 40 million people in the US without insurance and the US ranks after most all other developed nations in terms of health statistics, such as infant mortality, and life expectancy. While there are issues with other health systems, ours costs at least twice as much per capita than the next most expensive healthcare system, and our health data are not stellar. The system has been largely market run, and that has not worked.

Feb. 15 2012 10:25 AM

Policy makers that sit in Washington....sheesh that is a scary thought. Big government has not serviced us.

Feb. 15 2012 10:24 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Why don't why just adopt China's "one child policy" and get it over with? It's clear that children are evil and must not be allowed to come into the world. WE must reduce America's population to the number it had before Columbus arrived, estimated at between 2 and 18 million, and when the environment was so wonderful and pristine!

Feb. 15 2012 10:22 AM
Denise from Manhattan

What about the fact birth control is known to increase breast cancer?

Feb. 15 2012 10:21 AM

Would be fascinating to see an experimental health care co that was purely based on the market -- based on exercise and even genes! Many theories cOuld be tested. Seems like not just a good place to start but the only place.

Feb. 15 2012 10:20 AM
Cory from Planet Earth

Warm weather vacation therapy in February should be required.

Feb. 15 2012 10:20 AM
Edward from NJ

@Rene Lape from Long Island, are you saying that health insurance companies shouldn't cover maternity care or hospital delivery costs?

Feb. 15 2012 10:19 AM
John A.

Speaking of 'Church & State', is there a greater temple to capititalism than the medical industry in America, in recent decades? The entitlement that this industry takes to ever increasing inflow of money has been in keeping with what people want, but costs now have to be driven back, as with the rate of increase of cost.

Feb. 15 2012 10:16 AM
Rene Lape from Long Island

My comment on this topic is that preventive treatment for illnesses and health problems is fine but a pregnancy is NOT A DISEASE. It may be an inconvenience for some, but it is something THEY ALONE should be responsible for.

Feb. 15 2012 10:16 AM
bob from SI

NYC requires drug addiction treatment which i would never have as a rider.
Does the feds require it in the plan

Feb. 15 2012 10:15 AM
Anonymous from New York

I applaud the increase in coverage for women's preventative care under the Affordable Health Care Act, but am concerned about the lack of coverage for ovarian cancer screening in the new Act. I am at high risk for developing ovarian cancer due to a family history of the cancer and thought the new Act would mean my expensive yearly ultrasounds to screen for ovarian cancer recommended by my doctor would now be covered. However, when my healthcare provider recently denied coverage for a recent screening, I was told the Act only covers a blood test for ovarian cancer screening. However, doctors typically recommend an ultrasound and blood test to screen women who are at a greater than average risk of developing ovarian cancer. Since ovarian cancer has a high mortality rate when it is caught in later stages, I am surprised that this Act does not give women adequate screening options for ovarian cancer.

Feb. 15 2012 10:14 AM
Rossella from jersey City

This controversy is very dangerous! What is preventing the Scientology Church to refuse coverage for vaccine??? the are against them! So we are going to put everybody's preferences above what is good for the general public? The law doesn't force anybody to use these services...they just mandate insurers to cover them.. so that they are available should people need them!! ... if we don't advocate for people to be covered for preventive services... we the tax payers are going to end up paying much more once they need emergency services.. government should legislate on what is best for all the people not pick and choose depending on special interests

Feb. 15 2012 10:13 AM

Yet another reason why employer-sponsored health care is a fundamentally bad idea.

Given that it seems to be a bad idea we are likely to be stuck with for quite some time, the compromise seems to be as reasonable as can be expected, bogus as it may be. It's just silly that they did not see the problem coming and head it off rather than let it happen and then fix it.

Feb. 15 2012 10:12 AM
Ed from Larchmont

I understand that some states get exemptions from certain drugs, like cancer drugs in Massachusetts, and that the only things never considered for exemption are contraception. Is that so, and why?

Feb. 15 2012 10:10 AM

If contraception is cheaper for the insurance companies than women becoming pregnant, why aren't all the insurance companies providing it on their own?

Feb. 15 2012 10:09 AM
Jennifer from NYC

How about follow-up mammograms and other diagnostics following breast cancer treatment, not just preventive treatments? Couldn't get that from my last policy for which I paid $450 a month.

Feb. 15 2012 10:09 AM
Helen from Manhattan

I think that the government should be able to mandate what is covered from health insurers and employers. These companies are just looking to make money, and are never trying to do the best by their customer. We need the government (or someone) to fight for fair and effective services.

Feb. 15 2012 10:07 AM

Relevant to remember that this conversation is in the context of defining health insurance -- not health care. The latter would presumably include night guards for teeth, massage, gym memberships, good nutrition and penalize physical and mental slovenliness, whereas the former is designed to do the opposite.

Feb. 15 2012 09:28 AM

The bishops also oppose in vitro fertilisation because it is the devils work.
Are infertility treatments covered?

Feb. 15 2012 08:55 AM
Ed from Larchmont

One should note that Ella, an abortifacient, is covered.

Feb. 15 2012 06:04 AM

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