Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Change In State Health Care Law Makes Getting Birth Control Pills Easier

Wikimedia Commons

Health insurers in Washington state are now required to provide 12-month refills of birth control pills.  

Although the Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to provide birth control for free as part of preventive medicine, a lot of insurers had limited customers to a 30-day supply at a time. Washington state Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, says having to go back to the pharmacy every month to get birth control pills was a real burden on women.

“You either  forget and have trouble fitting it into a busy schedule, or people who live far from pharmacies in rural areas have difficulty getting there every month,” said Robinson.

Robinson sponsored the legislation that now lets women refill their birth control prescriptions for an entire year. She says the contraceptive measure was about eliminating barriers for women. She also says birth control pills are fairly inexpensive, so the change won’t require a huge outlay by insurers.

Of all the bills Robinson has worked on in the state legislature, she says this one is the only one where random women have come up to her to thank her.

“So many times people don’t see how the government changes things for the better for them and I think this is just a little thing that makes life a little easier for a lot of women,” Robinson said.

Robinson says when she got her own letter from her insurer noting the change, it felt good to know she had made a difference.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.