Summer Sale Extended! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

The cost of free contraceptives

Over the last few days, it has been interesting and almost comical to watch President Barack Obama handle the growing opposition regarding the decision of his administration to mandate coverage of contraceptives in the national health care reform benefit package.

The president has "compromised" by saying that these insurance plans will no longer be required to cover contraceptives. However, the insurance companies will be required to provide these products to the benefit plan members at no charge (including co-pays or co-insurance).

Does President Obama really believe that insurance company shareholders will give up their dividends to provide these benefits at "no cost"? Or that the manufacturers will begin providing these products to the insurance companies, and thus to their members, at no cost? Of course not.

The insurance companies will project their costs for these products, and they will increase the underlying insurance premiums to cover them. The employees (and their covered dependents) who are covered on the benefit plans will have access to free contraceptives, and the employers will be paying the cost of the products through their increased health insurance premiums, religious objections or not.

As a matter of fact, the insurance carrier actuaries will confirm that because the president is eliminating the option for insurance companies to charge co-pays or co-insurance, the actual usage and overall costs of these products will increase.

Regardless of what your personal opinion is on this particular issue, it's important for us to be open about what the ultimate costs of these benefits are going to be and who is going to pay for them.

Al Redmer Jr., Middle River

The writer is a former Maryland Insurance Commissioner.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • School birth control makes parents' jobs harder

    School birth control makes parents' jobs harder

    It is the parents' job to teach their children right from wrong. At the very least, schools should not be making the parents' job harder ("Amid teen pregnancy decline, debate renewed about birth control in schools," June 6).

  • Little Sisters' employees have rights, too

    Little Sisters' employees have rights, too

    The Founders wisely gave us the First Amendment so that the followers of one faith could not force others to live their lives according to that faith. They had already seen how religion could be the basis for so much suffering. The case of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Affordable Care...

  • Teens have a right to birth control

    Teens have a right to birth control

    As two organizations committed to increasing access to reproductive health care services for all Marylanders, we were glad to see The Sun highlight the availability of contraceptives in school-based health clinics ("Amid teen pregnancy decline, debate renewed about birth control in schools," June...

  • Little Sisters treated shamefully

    Little Sisters treated shamefully

    President Barack Obama's federal government has scored another big win in its war on religion in the United States, which used to be a nation under God ("Federal court rules against Little Sisters of the Poor," July 15). We should be ashamed of our court system as well as this "government" pledged...

  • Pills don't prevent STDs

    Pills don't prevent STDs

    This letter is in response to Susan Reimer's column about the GOP's attitude about birth control ("On birth control, young Republicans get it," April 15). I think Ms. Reimer's opinion is very narrow-minded. While I agree that young people often have premarital sex with no desire to procreate, I...

  • Stokes, like many before him, is wrong on birth control

    Stokes, like many before him, is wrong on birth control

    Readers Diana Philip and Spencer Hall were right to call out City Councilman Carl Stokes for his characterization of teen access to contraceptives as "a racist policy targeting African-American youth" ("Teens have a right to birth control," June 11).