Survey suggests that majority favor universal coverage for birth control

May 8, 2014

According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the majority of Americans support universal coverage for birth control.

According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the majority of Americans support universal coverage for birth control.

In late 2013, a cross-sectional survey was administered using the online KnowledgePanel, which is a national panel established through probability sampling of the civilian, nonstitutionalized US population (aged ≥18). All respondents were asked “Do you think that all health plans in the United States should be required to include coverage for the following services: birth control medications, preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies, recommended vaccinations, preventive screening tests for diabetes and high cholesterol, mental health care, and dental/tooth care including dental screenings and tooth problems?” The possible responses were “yes,” “no,” “uncertain,” and “refused to answer” and only an answer of “yes” was considered to support the question.

Of the 3504 people contacted, 2124 (61%) responded. Those who responded were more likely to be white, older, have a higher level of education, and have a higher level of income than those who did not respond.  Further broken down with sampling weights, the respondents were 54% female, 64% non-Hispanic white, 16% Hispanic, 12% non-Hispanic black, and 8% non-Hispanic other race.

A majority of respondents (69%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 67% - 72%) expressed support for mandated birth control coverage, with significantly higher support among women, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, parents with children under age 18 who lived at home, and adults with private or public insurance. No association was found with education and income levels. Support for the coverage was the lowest of all the benefits the survey asked about, even other benefits that had provoked debate. Among the respondents who supported mandating coverage for all services, excluding birth control, the majority were people who were highly unlikely to require birth control benefits.

Concluding that a majority supported universal coverage of birth control, the study’s authors believe that their findings could inform the continuing debate over such coverage.

 

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