Story No. 544: Kathy from South Carolina

My adult daughter was diagnosed with a reproductive health condition after graduating from college, while she was working part-time before beginning graduate school. She requires the hormones contained in birth control pills to treat this reproductive health condition, which is unrelated to preventing pregnancy. She is prescribed birth control pills as the medically indicated treatment.

Because she worked part-time at the time of her diagnosis, she was not eligible for health insurance from her employer. Her condition, if left untreated, would result in long-term, chronic health problems that would impact the quality of her life and would require expensive interventions for the rest of her life. Because of her strenuous academic curriculum in graduate school, she could not work full time and complete her studies. Therefore she did not have, and could not afford, health insurance of her own.

Because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), she was able to remain on our health insurance policy after she graduated from college, and throughout her graduate school program, until she completed her degree and secured full-time employment. She was able to receive the medical care, treatment, and medications she needed to secure a healthy future. She now has health insurance through her employer. The ACA provision prohibiting exclusion of pre-existing conditions in coverage is essential for her. She continues to manage her health well with her own policy. Additionally, her ability to secure coverage for her reproductive health needs as mandated by the ACA is essential to her managing this health condition – which, again, is unrelated to pregnancy prevention, though it is treated with “contraceptive” medication.

To allow employers to refuse to cover reproductive health, or to defund organizations that support women’s reproductive health, is an unconscionable and deliberate subjugation of half the population of the country.