Trenton – In an effort to expand birth control accessibility, the Senate passed legislation sponsored by Senators Shirley Turner and M. Teresa Ruiz that would require health insurers to increase the current required length of coverage for prescription contraceptives from six months to twelve months.
The bill, S-413, would take effect on the 90th day following enactment and would apply to policies and contracts delivered, issued, executed, or renewed on or after the effective date of the bill.
“With a woman’s right to safely choose to end an unwanted pregnancy now being threatened, we must counter that threat by putting the policies in place that help to protect the health of women,” said Senator Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “Making it easier for women to access contraceptives to prevent pregnancy from happening in the first place is one of the best ways to help women maintain control over their own bodies and their lives.”
According to studies conducted by the NJ Mandated Health Benefits Advisory Commission, the success rate of contraception to prevent unintended pregnancies increases significantly when used correctly and consistently.
“Many other medications are available to order long term supplies to ensure individuals are able to take them without interruption. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not always willing to cover a 12-month supply of birth control,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “There is no reason contraceptives should not be granted the same level of importance as other prescriptions. This legislation will ensure residents are able to get their medication in a manner that is conducive to their schedule.”
Studies have shown that a 12-month supply decreased unplanned pregnancies by 30 percent and reduced the odds of an abortion by 46 percent. Additionally, extended coverage or prescription contraceptives is so effective in preventing gaps in contraceptive use, which lowers the risk of unwanted pregnancy, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes 12-months’ supply in its Select Practice Recommendations.
The Senate passed the bill by a vote of 34-5.