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How is the birth control pill like a flu shot? According to the Department of Health and Human Service s newly adopted health recommendations, prescription contraception should join the list of items that health insurers offer at no charge. Since birth control is the most common drug prescribed to women ages 18 to 44, insurance plans should cover it, said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Not doing it would be like not covering flu shots, or any of the other basic preventive services that millions of Americans count on every day.

Within the next year, most new health insurance polices and eventually most other policies will have to provide a comprehensive list of women s preventive health services with no co-pay or deductible. The list includes all forms of prescription contraception approved by the FDA, as well as screening for gestational diabetes, counseling about sexually-transmitted diseases, support for breast-feeding, and domestic violence screening and counseling.

ACHS's Dr. Gilbert Ross applauded the news. He believes that prescription contraception is an extremely important addition to the list of no-charge items, in that it s so often the women who aren t in the position to support a pregnancy or a child and can t afford birth control pills who are also the ones most likely to have an unintended pregnancy. This measure will also reduce the number of abortions. The new list of preventive services, he says, is a very significant public health benefit.