Insurers oddly unenthusiastic about ‘cost-free’ contraception

…when this mandate goes into effect, insurance premiums will have to rise to cover the increased costs of providing these products and services, especially for surgical sterilizations

Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius insist that their new mandate for employers and their insurers to cover the cost of contraception and abortifacients won’t cost anyone anything. An HHS study claims that the costs of contraception get outstripped by the savings of preventing pregnancy and childbirth, and so insurers should be delighted to offer those products and services for free.  Oddly, however, insurers are not terribly enthusiastic about the notion, The Hill reports today, perhaps because they actually have to balance their own budgets at the end of each year … unlike Obama and Sebelius:

 But in private, the industry is dubious of the administration’s argument that the insurance industry wouldn’t take a hit because birth control is cheaper than unwanted pregnancies.

The trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans has limited its comments to saying it worries about the “precedent” the mandate would set. The concern is that the government could eventually require health plans to cover any number of preventive services – even prescription drugs – without copays or deductibles, under the theory that they save money in the long-term.

Privately, however, insurers say there’s nothing “free” about preventing unwarranted pregnancies. They say the mandate also covers costly surgical sterilization procedures, and that in any case even the pill has up-front costs.

“Saying it’s revenue-neutral doesn’t mean it’s free and that you’re not paying for it,” an industry source told The Hill.

Doctors still have to be paid to prescribe the pill, drugmakers and pharmacists have to be paid to provide it – and all that money has to come from insurance premiums, not future hypothetical savings, the source said.

I’ve addressed this a number of times over the past week or so, but it’s worth repeating…

Read the rest at

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