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Health insurers may soon offer contraceptives at no extra cost

The Washington Post, July 5, 2010

Starting this fall, the healthcare overhaul will require new health plans to begin providing a range of preventive health services at no cost to patients. Many people, including women's health advocates and some employer groups, think contraception should be one of the required free services. "It's basic preventive health care," says Laura Hessburg, a senior health policy adviser at the National Partnership for Women and Families. Among other health benefits, women who plan their pregnancies are more likely to get necessary prenatal care and avoid closely spaced births, which can put a strain on their bodies and their parenting skills, and may result in low-birth-weight babies.