To The Editor:
Currently, Vermont law requires insurance companies to cover prescription contraceptives. This law has been critical for women who depend on affordable access to birth control methods, such as birth control pills. As a social worker in Vermont for 35 years, I have seen the impact of both access and lack of access to birth control on the lives of women (and men). A new bill, H.869, would expand this coverage to include almost all over-the-counter contraceptives, ranging from emergency contraceptives to spermicides (not including male condoms).
In 2016, Vermont made significant progress on behalf of women in Vermont by requiring insurance companies to cover prescription contraceptives with no cost sharing – a huge step in the right direction! The federal government is poised to allow the birth control pill to be sold over the counter in the near future. Many women rely on this method of contraception and if it is not covered by insurance because it is available over the counter, many unwanted pregnancies are likely to result.
A bill currently being considered in the Vermont Legislature would make over-the-counter contraceptives, including birth control pills, available to people with insurance coverage with no out-of-pocket costs. Birth control is a basic, necessary part of life. I urge everyone to contact their legislators and urge them to support passage of H.869 this year.