Obamacare made contraception free. So why do only 42 percent of sexually active women report having their birth control fully covered?
In part, it’s because some women who report using birth control rely on male condoms — which are not covered under the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. The health law requires that new insurance policies cover all FDA-approved contraception prescribed for women without cost sharing, meaning that couples using male condoms still have to pay for them.
That’s a significant number of women, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2013 Women’s Health Survey, released Thursday. Some 63 percent of sexually active women rely on male condoms, and 54 percent rely on one contraceptive method. Compare that with the 48 percent of sexually active women who use oral contraceptives — which include birth-control pills — and the 45 percent who report using two or more contraceptive methods, and it’s evident that at least some women are relying on male condoms as their only method of birth control.
Another reason women are reporting that they don’t have their birth control fully covered is simply because their insurance plan doesn’t have to. According to the survey, 31 percent of sexually active women reported that their insurance covered only part of the costs, which could be because they chose a birth-control method that isn’t covered — such as a brand-name drug — or because they went out of their provider network to get it.
Insurers also don’t have to provide contraceptive coverage without cost sharing for “grandfathered” plans, the term used to describe older policies that don’t (yet) have to meet the Affordable Care Act’s coverage requirements. One other exemption is for religious employers who object to contraception — and women on those plans are finding themselves footing the full bill.
Meanwhile, some women simply don’t know about the birth-control coverage requirements of the law — and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is working to fix that. Cara James, director of the CMS Office of Minority Health, said it’s drafting an outreach plan to teach the newly insured how to use their coverage, and education about the benefits the law requires is ongoing, especially as the agency gears up for the next open-enrollment period. They’re also working to ensure that doctors explain patients’ options when they go in for preventive care visits.
And millions of Americans still live without health insurance — which means they’ve got to figure out how to pay for birth control on their own.
The result is that even with the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, 18 percent of sexually active women don’t have contraceptive coverage, according to Kaiser’s survey.
While nearly half of sexually active women use at least one form of contraception, Kaiser found, one in five aren’t using birth control at all. By the time Kaiser conducts its next four-year survey, women’s-health experts expect to see the number of women who report having their contraception covered increase.
“I’m holding my biggest smiles for the day when we’re much closer to 100,” said Amy Allina, deputy director of the National Women’s Health Network. “We are certainly aware that cost was and is a barrier to women getting contraceptive care.”
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”