UPDATE: 2021 open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act plans runs from November 1, 2020 to December 15, 2020. You can enroll at healthcare.gov. Some states have their own open enrollment periods and websites for signing up. Check to see if your state does. We also have more information about how to get insurance and learn what kinds of plans to watch out for.
Birth control access for low-income Americans is in danger. On June 16th the House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee passed its version of the FY 2016 spending bill. The bill eliminated all $286 million in federal funding for the Title X Family Planning Program, a program that helps millions of low-income women and men access affordable contraception. The only good news: This is just the first step in the process, so there’s still time to help save Title X.
That’s crazy—what can I do?
Step 1: Reach out to your Representives and Senators ASAP to tell them you support the Title X program. If they are on the House or Senate Appropriations Committee, this is even more important. Ask them to fully fund Title X at $286 million for FY 2016. (Get your Representative’s contact information here. Get your Senators’ contact info here.)
Step 2: Share your birth control story on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #BirthControlHelpedMe. This campaign launched today to raise awareness about why birth control matters to real people.
Wait, what’s Title X?
The Title X Family Planning Program has been around for a long time—since The Beatles, The Jackson 5, and Sly & the Family Stone were at the top of the charts. For more than 40 years this program has helped low-income women and men access sexual and reproductive health care.
The publicly-funded family planning services provided at Title X clinics save taxpayers $7 billion per year. How, exactly? Title X clinics help people prevent unwanted pregnancies. Many of those pregnancies would result in births that taxpayers would pay for through Medicaid. The math is pretty straightforward: the average cost for one Medicaid-covered birth (prenatal care, delivery, postpartum care, and one year of infant care) is $12,770, while the annual per-client cost for publicly-funded contraceptive care is about $239. U.S. taxpayers save at least $6 in public sector medical costs for every dollar spent on contraceptive care.
There’s still time to take action!
The full House Appropriations Committee still needs to vote on the bill Wednesday and the Senate will begin work on their version of the 2016 spending bill on Tuesday, so there’s still time to tell your members of Congress what you think. Call your Senators and Representatives and tell them why Title X is so important. And tell the world why birth control is important using the #BirthControlHelpedMe hashtag.
Want more talking points on Title X? Here are some from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.