Call to insure birth cont

File Name: 0007.FEM

  Msg#: 630                                          Date: 05-26-98  18:38
  From: Grant Karpik                                 Read: Yes    Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Call to insure birth cont
@MSGID: 1:153/831.2 56b43454
@PID: timEd 1.10.y2k
Date sent:              Wed, 13 May 98 16:08:26 CDT
From:              Mark Graffis 
Organization:      ?
To:                undisclosed-recipients:;

      Copyright © 1998 Reuters News Service

   NEW ORLEANS (May 12, 1998 9:38 p.m. EDT - 
   Insurers who are covering Viagra should start paying for birth 
   control methods such as the pill and the IUD as well, and any 
   who do not are biased against women, doctors said on Tuesday.

   Obstetricians and gynecologists, meeting in New Orleans, said 
   they were outraged at reports that the anti-impotence drug 
   Viagra was being covered by some insurers, while nearly half of 
   health-care plans still refuse to cover prescription birth 

   "We don't believe there's anything optional about contraception. 
   It's really necessary," Luella Klein, director of women's health 
   issues for the American College of Obstetricians and 
   Gynecologists (ACOG), told a news conference.

   ACOG said that 49 percent of traditional insurers and almost 
   half of managed care plans such as HMOs and PPOs do not 
   routinely pay for birth control that requires a prescription.

   But 90 percent of these plans cover most other prescription 
   drugs and devices.

   Some insurers, and some Medicaid programs, are beginning to pay 
   for the anti-impotence drug Viagra. "I suspect that impotence is 
   considered a medical problem and that a medical problem should 
   be covered," Klein said.

   But she also noted that many insurance companies are run by men. 
   "This insurance exclusion makes no economic or medical sense and 
   raises gender discrimination issues," she said.

   "The benefits of contraception provide great savings to the 
   health care system, yet it is the individual woman who is 
   shouldering the burden of this cost savings to insurers."

   Women pay 68 percent more than men in out-of-pocket medical 
   expenses, ACOG said.

   "The lack of access to affordable contraception contributes 
   significantly to the high unintended pregnancy rates in this 
   country," said Anita Nelson, a professor of gynecology at the 
   University of California Los Angeles.

   There were 2.7 million unintended pregnancies in the United 
   States in 1997, a rate much higher than in other industrialized 
   nations, she said.

   ACOG wants coverage of oral contraceptives, the IUD, 
   Depo-Provera, Norplant, the diaphragm, and the cervical cap.

   The group is also seeking coverage of emergency contraception, a 
   Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved birth control pill 
   regimen given immediately after unprotected intercourse to 
   prevent pregnancy.

   ACOG is backing a bill in Congress introduced by Republican 
   Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine that would require insurers who 
   cover prescription drugs to also cover all FDA-approved drugs 
   and devices.

   Similar bills have been introduced in 20 states, and a Maryland 
   law taking effect in October mandates coverage of oral 

   "This should help mobilize women," said Nelson, who said many 
   women have been unaware that they could demand coverage in the 

   By Alicia Ault, Reuters


End cross-post

                   Grant {Internet:}

 ! Origin: Rage at the Machine... (1:153/831.2)