by Brooke Jarchow
Throughout his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump vowed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The health law, along with government regulations, requires insurers to cover birth control at no additional costs to insured women. In 2012, 15 percent of American women were getting free contraception; in 2015, it was 67 percent. Although Trump appears to be compromising on some aspects of the law, the future of accessible and affordable contraceptives remains uncertain. Below, we share what we know so far and what women should know following the election.
Should Trump repeal the provision of the law that requires insurers to provide free access to contraceptives, women could be forced to pay out of pocket for birth control at significantly higher costs. For example, an IUD, currently covered under the law on the list of readily available contraceptives, can cost up to $1,000 out of pocket.
If Trump were to cut off the federal funding of Planned Parenthood as he promised during his campaign, millions of uninsured and low-income families that rely on Planned Parenthood for free and low cost health services may be unable to access contraceptives. Since the election, Planned Parenthood has received thousands of donations, but its future is still uncertain.
Women are now voicing their concerns across social media and to their health care providers. Across social media, women are urging each other to purchase mass amounts of birth control now, or to seek alternative long-term forms of birth control, like an IUD, that could outlast Trump’s presidency. Like other health care providers, Lisa Masterson, MD said she has received an influx of calls regarding the IUD after the election. The IUD can last three to 10 years depending on the type of IUD (there are three). The trending idea is that if a woman gets the IUD now, she could potentially avoid paying high costs for necessary birth control in the future during a Trump presidency.
However, it is important to remember that these changes to women’s rights would not happen overnight and may not even be implemented in 2017. This fortunately gives women time to look into their options, talk with their doctor, and choose a birth control and health plan that aligns with their personal circumstances. This is another important reason why women should secure health coverage now and stay educated on the decisions made by their government.