Politics & Government

SC bill requires health plans cover year’s worth of birth control

FILE - This May 28, 1999, file photo shows a new birth control pill container designed to look like a woman's makeup compact for Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., of Raritan, N.J., displayed at the manufacturer's assembly line.
FILE - This May 28, 1999, file photo shows a new birth control pill container designed to look like a woman's makeup compact for Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical Inc., of Raritan, N.J., displayed at the manufacturer's assembly line. AP

S.C. legislators are introducing a bill to make it easier for women to fill their birth control prescriptions.

A bill sponsored by Beth Bernstein, D-Richland, and Kirkman Finlay, R-Richland, would require insurance plans cover a 12-month supply of prescribed self-administered contraceptives.

H.3809 would cover contraceptives such as the ring, the patch and oral pills – allowing women to fill a full year’s order all at once.

Currently, most women must refill their birth control prescriptions each month, which can prove burdensome for women who lack transportation, live in rural areas, move frequently, or struggle to balance hectic schedules, according to the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network.

One in four women says they have missed birth control pills because they could not get the next pack in time, thereby increasing their risk of unintended pregnancy, the network says, while studies show women who receive a one year supply of contraception were 30 percent less likely to have an unintended pregnancy.

The bill is also sponsored by Reps. Kit Spires, R-Lexington, Neal Collins, R-Pickens, James Smith, D-Richland and Robert Ridgeway, D-Clarendon.

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