Free Birth Control Under The Affordable Care Act Goes Into Effect

Women rejoice for the Affordable Care Act.

When Obama’s Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, many of its provisions would not go into effect until 2012. At the time, 2012 seemed like it might as well be light-years away. Most insurance companies didn’t cover birth control, so most women paid out of pocket. $50 a month is a lot — and that’s if you’re lucky enough to be employed and insured.

But being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition (we wish that were a joke, but it’s not). Many of the health care penalties that women had to pay are now gone. As of August 1, 2012, all birth control — IUDs, the pill, and so on — are all covered by insurance. That means that they’re free. No co-pays, no deductibles. Among the other fabulous new benefits covered are annual “well woman” checkups that include preconception care, counseling and support for breast-feeding, pap smears and support for domestic violence survivors.

As great as these new benefits sound, they do come with some caveats. Only women between the ages of 18 and 64 who are currently covered by private health insurance qualify for free birth control — and if their plans haven’t changed since March of 2010, when the act passed, then their current co-pays are grandfathered in. The uninsured will still have to pay for everything out of pocket, even though it is currently easier for young people and those with preexisting conditions to purchase insurance.

But by this time next year, most of these caveats will have expired and 47 million women will qualify for free birth control.

We like that.

Image: Ultraviolet.