Should medical insurance cover the cost of birth control pills? Some politicians claim that the cost for a year’s supply can be $600. That is surely the high end since a web search indicates that birth control pills can cost from $15 to $50 per month. The same site indicated that organizations like Planned Parenthood sell them for much less. A letter writer to a newspaper argued that a month’s supply can be purchased at Walmart for $4.00.
Advocates argue that the pills are a necessary women’s health item. But toothpaste is also a necessary health item and no one suggests that it be covered by insurance. We expect everyone to purchase their own from the huge array that can be found on the shelves.
Most people don’t realize that medical insurance that covers relatively minor items is really a prepayment of claims. Take dental insurance for example. Most policies exist as riders to basic medical coverage and provide a cap on benefits as well as significant restrictions on what is covered. For example, most policies won’t pay for caps and implants. In addition, most policies won’t pay more than a $1000 for all covered dental expenses in a given year. The annual premium for these dental policies usually comes very close to the annual cap on benefits.
Automobile insurance provides another example. No one expects automobile insurance to cover yearly oil changes. If a company had to provide such coverage, it would have to increase the cost of each policy by the expected number of oil changes with an additional charge for overhead and claims processing. There is no other way.
Why would birth control insurance be any different? The government claims that it is free but there is no such thing as a free lunch. Whether the pills cost $50 per year at Walmart or $600 per year at the Congressional dispensary, the cost must be included.
Why is the government embarking on such an expensive and controversial program when its annual debt is already over 3 trillion dollars?###