- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 22, 2002

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Beth Taggart pays $35 a month out of her own pocket because her insurance does not cover birth control pills.
That doesn't seem quite fair to her, considering the sort of things her health plan does cover.
"When I think that Viagra is covered, and the consequence of Viagra is not covered, it's hard to believe," said the 40-year-old former state employee and mother of a baby daughter. "Plus, it's a health concern, especially for people who just had babies and don't want to get pregnant again within the first year."
Lawmakers are listening: The debate over whether health plans should be required to include contraceptive coverage has moved into nearly all state legislatures.
This year alone, in at least 19 states, including Ohio, more than 60 bills regarding insurance for birth control pills and devices have been introduced. Three of those states, New York, Arizona and Massachusetts, enacted laws, bringing to 20 the number of states that have passed such measures over the past five years.
Most of the laws require health insurance policies that cover prescription drugs to cover prescription contraceptives, too. Some states include an exemption for employers who object to such coverage for religious reasons.
"This momentum underscores that failure to cover contraceptives is illegal sex discrimination, and people now are recognizing that," said Elizabeth Cavendish, legal director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League in Washington.

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