Yesterday, a committee convened by the Institute of Medicine made various recommendations regarding preventive care services for women that should be covered by public and private health insurance providers. One of the controversial recommendations is that insurers should cover contraception, including emergency contraception, and that they should be available without co-payments.
Not surprisingly, proponents of certain religious beliefs who think that God didn't mean for people to use their intelligence to devise birth control methods objected to the recommendations.
In any case, it turns out that most insurers already include contraception in their policies. According the Guttmacher Institute:
• One-quarter of the more than 20 million American women who obtain contraceptive services from a medical provider receive care from a publicly funded family planning clinic.
• In 2008, 7.2 million women, including 1.8 million teenagers, received contraceptive services from publicly funded family planning clinics in the United States.
• Federal employees are guaranteed insurance coverage for contraceptives.
• Nine in 10 employer-based insurance plans cover a full range of prescription contraceptives, which is three times the proportion that did so just a decade ago.
• Twenty-seven states now have laws in place requiring insurers that cover prescription drugs in general to provide coverage for the full range of contraceptive drugs and devices approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Just a speculation: Even if contraception coverage were not mandated, insurers might be very happy to include it in their policies considering the costs of covering child births (coverage of which is, of course, mandated).
…that two-thirds of births resulting from unintended pregnancies—more than one million births—are publicly funded, and the proportion tops 80% in a couple of states. The cost of those births, and the potential gross saving from helping women to avert them, is estimated at $11.1 billion.
Go here for the complete list of IOM recommendations.