WA women can now get 12-month birth control supply

Insurance companies are now required to cover 12-month supplies of birth control for women in Washington.

Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1234 into law Tuesday. The bill requires any health plan issued or renewed after Jan. 1, 2018 to provide one-year birth control refills at one time, as opposed to the one-month or three-month supplies most plans cover now. The law applies to any plan that provides contraceptive coverage.

The bill also requires plans to allow women to refill those prescriptions at their doctor’s office, when available, rather than requiring them to go to an off-site pharmacy.

State Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, told The News Tribune that the goal of the bill is to make it easier for women to keep up with their birth control prescriptions and avoid missing doses.

“People don’t want to have to run to the pharmacy every month or every couple months,” said Robinson, the bill’s prime sponsor. “For busy moms or just busy people, it’s a hassle. And it contributes to people missing doses, which can lead to unintended pregnancy.”

Studies have shown that women’s odds of getting pregnant declined by 30 percent when they received a one-year supply of oral contraceptives, instead of the standard one-month or three-month supply, according to the News Tribune.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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