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Are women benefiting from the Affordable Care Act? A real-world evaluation of the impact of the Affordable Care Act on out-of-pocket costs for contraceptives

      Abstract

      Objectives

      The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated that, starting between August 1, 2012 and July 31, 2013, health plans cover most Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved contraceptive methods for women without cost sharing. This study examined the impact of the ACA on out-of-pocket expenses for contraceptives.

      Study design

      Women (ages 15–44 years) with claims for any contraceptives in years 2011, 2012 and 2013 were identified from the MarketScan Commercial database. The proportions of women using contraceptives [including permanent contraceptives (PCs) and non-PCs: oral contraceptives (OCs), injectables, patches, rings, implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs)] in study years were determined, as well as changes in out-of-pocket expenses for contraceptives during 2011–2013. Demographics, including age, U.S. geographic region of residence and health plan type, were also evaluated.

      Results

      The number of women identified with any contraceptive usage in 2011 was 2,447,316 (mean age: 27.6 years), in 2012 was 2,515,296 (mean age: 27.4 years) and in 2013 was 2,243,253 (mean age: 27.4 years). In 2011, 2012 and 2013, the proportions of women with any contraceptive usage were 26.3%, 26.2% and 26.9%, respectively. Over the three study years, mean total out-of-pocket expenses for PCs and non-PCs decreased from $298 to $82 and from $94 to $30, respectively. For non-PCs, mean total out-of-pocket expenses for OCs and IUDs decreased from $86 to $26 and from $83 to $20.

      Conclusions

      Implementation of the ACA has saved women a substantial amount in out-of-pocket expenses for contraceptives.

      Implications

      Mean total out-of-pocket expenses for FDA-approved contraceptives decreased approximately 70% from 2011 to 2013. Implementation of the ACA has saved women a substantial amount in out-of-pocket expenses for contraceptives. Longer-term studies, including clinical outcomes, are warranted.

      Keywords

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