About This Work
Access to the full range of contraceptive options is essential to having control over our bodies and our lives. NIRH is committed to expanding access to contraception by addressing policy barriers, expanding insurance coverage, and implementing systems-level change in health care settings, using an approach that centers patient autonomy and choice.
Some forms of contraception, such as long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) and emergency contraception, have been historically underutilized because of lack of provider training, lack of public education, and high cost to providers and consumers. However, efforts to increase access to contraception have often targeted their efforts at marginalized communities, particularly women of color, who have historically experienced many forms of reproductive oppression, including forced sterilization. As we work to increase access to contraception so that all patients can choose the method that is right for them, it is imperative to keep this history at the forefront of our minds.
NIRH supports policies that ensure access to the full range of methods of contraception and non-coercive, inclusive contraceptive counseling, and is committed to increasing knowledge of and access to underutilized contraceptive options in ways that center and honor patient autonomy and decision-making. NIRH also supports policies that ensure that all insurance coverage, whether offered privately, by employers, or through the government, provides coverage all methods of contraception and non-coercive contraceptive counseling with no cost-sharing on the individual and without barriers or delays.
NIRH’s LARC Access Project addresses policy and systems-level barriers to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), including IUDs and implants, within a framework that centers patient autonomy and choice. Learn more about NIRH’s LARC Access Project here.
In 2017, NIRH successfully fought for no-copay coverage of abortion and contraception for all state-regulated insurance plans in New York. However, many New Yorkers are covered by employer-provided self-funded plans which are governed by federal law and do not have to comply with state-level requirements. NIRH then urged the state to find a creative solution that would ensure that all New Yorkers would be able to understand if their health insurance plan must comply with New York state requirements which guarantees coverage for abortion and contraception. In July of 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a new regulation for health insurer [...]
After 5 years of NIRH’s advocacy, public education efforts and deep work with legislators, the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act (CCCA) became law in 2019. The CCCA ensures that all New Yorkers have access to the contraception that is right for them at no cost. Following years of grassroots organizing, the 2018 election delivered a pro-choice majority in the New York State Senate, and a mandate for passing the CCCA. The CCCA, which was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo in early 2019, guarantees insurance coverage without a co-pay, allows individuals to obtain up to a year’s worth of contraception [...]
NIRH is committed to expanding access to underutilized forms of contraception, including IUDs and implants. Though offering immediate postpartum LARC to patients who want this method is considered a best practice, barriers including policy, reimbursement, and lack of education for both providers and patients, and the challenges of implementing this service, have made it so that the majority of hospitals do not provide this service. With the support of NIRH, partners like Young Women United, Southwest Women’s Law Center, Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains and the New Mexico Perinatal Collaborative in New Mexico, Vanderbilt University, SisterReach, and University of Tennessee-Knoxville in Tennessee, [...]
Implementation is an integral part of expanding access to contraceptive coverage after successful advocacy for a policy change. Too often, a new policy is passed but its enactment is limited due to the difficulty that comes with vital work like ensuring that systems are created or updated and key stakeholders and informed and educated. As more states have worked with their public and private insurers to allow long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), including IUDs and implants, to be covered in a postpartum setting, work to ensure the services are actually offered to patients is vital. This includes revising systems for billing [...]
In 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo and his agencies issued four different regulations that affirm access to insurance coverage for abortion and contraception in New York State, protect access to insurance coverage for all New Yorkers if the federal government repeals or restricts the ACA, and improve conditions for women who are incarcerated. The abortion and contraception regulations are wide-ranging and, when implemented, will ensure that women have full access to those services in the state without having to pay coinsurance or copayments or meet a deductible. Under these regulations, doctors in New York can instruct pharmacists to dispense 12 months of birth control at once, [...]