New Virginia Law Requires Insurers to Cover 12-Month Supply of Birth Control

Posted: Updated:
Birth control pills (FILE IMAGE) Birth control pills (FILE IMAGE)
Claudia Sencer Claudia Sencer
Birth control pills (FILE IMAGE) Birth control pills (FILE IMAGE)

A new law in Virginia is about to save busy women dozens of trips to the pharmacy.

As of January 1, insurance companies must now cover a 12-month supply of birth control at one time.

Governor Terry McAuliffe signed the bill back in April, but people didn't start seeing its effect on insurance coverage until last week. That is because of healthcare plans renewed on January 1.

A big percentage, but not all birth control is free under the Affordable Care Act.

With the uncertainty surrounding future health care coverage under the Trump administration, many women say they are concerned with future coverage and cost of the drugs.

Stocking up now can help. Bill sponsors and physicians say having a yearly supply of contraceptives will help reduce unwanted pregnancies by shrinking the possibility that there's a gap in administration.

“I think it's a great boon for women who have a difficulty getting to the pharmacy,” said nurse practitioner Claudia Sencer. “If you have plan that requires you to go every month and you can only get your second or follow-up prescription within a few days of the end of the month you have a very narrow window where you can go get your birth control.”

People opposed to the bill, mainly insurance companies, say the 12-month supply could go to waste. Women may decide to go off contraception, or switch birth-control methods partway through the year.

Right now, just five other states and Washington, D.C. require insurance companies to give the years’ worth supply.