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Senior Citizen Politics

Seniors Most Reluctant to Support Government Help with Birth Control But A Majority Do

Seniors in usual “most negative” spot on birth control help but surprisingly strong majority say it’s ok

Should insurance purchased with government help cover birth control?

Age

Yes

No

<35

78.8%

21.2%

35–64

77.9%

22.1%

65+

59.4%

40.6%

Total

74.4%

25.6%

June 10, 2011 - A recent survey of Americans by Thomson Reuters and NPR with questions on birth control pills and family planning came out like most surveys do with senior citizens being the most negative age group. There was a little surprise in this one, however, that found a majority of those age 65 and older with positive attitudes on birth control and government help with family planning.

“When it comes to private insurance, including employer-based policies, 77 percent of people said it should cover all or some of the cost of oral contraceptives. The remainder said women should pay for the pill themselves,” writes Scott Hensley on the NPR Shots blog.

 

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The support, however, decreases by age. The most negative, as usual are the senior citizens. But, 61% of seniors think private insurance should cover the cost of birth control pills and

The percentage decreases with age: among those under 35 years old, 83% believe private insurance should cover birth control. Among those 65 years old or older, the percentages drops to 61% - still a sign of strong support.

Hensely points out, “Most insurance plans do cover the pill, and a majority of states have laws requiring insurance plans that cover prescription medicines to cover contraceptives.”

When asked if birth control pills should be covered by a private plan, when the government is helping to pay for it, the results were about the same – 74% said the pill should be covered. Again, seniors were the most negative but still a strong majority – 59% - said birth control should be included.

Dr. Raymond Fabius, chief medical officer at Thomson Reuters, told NPR’s Hensely, that “people were even more supportive of government subsidies for family planning services and contraceptives for the poor than they were of private insurance plans covering the pill.”

“Finally, we asked if people knew whether their insurance covered birth control pills. The most common answer at 43 percent was "don't know." Thirty-one percent of people said their plans cover the pill,” writes Hensley.

“Most insurance plans do cover the pill, and a majority of states have laws requiring insurance plans that cover prescription medicines to cover contraceptives.”

This latest NPR-Thomson Reuters Health Poll drew responses in telephone interviews from more than 3,000 adults across the country. The margin for error is plus or minus 1.8 percentage points.

For the full text of the questions and the responses click here and the detailed results of past polls on Thomson-Reuters' site click here.

The Questions and Response by Age Group

1. Thinking about women who are covered by private health insurance plans that are paid for by private individuals or employers with no money from the government involved. Do you think private insurance plans should cover some or all of the costs of birth control pills, or do you think that women who want birth control pills should have to pay the complete costs out of their own pockets?

Age

Plan
covers
some/all

Women pay all costs

<35

82.8%

17.2%

35–64

79.7%

20.3%

65+

61.3%

38.7%

Total

76.6%

23.4%

 

2. Say someone buys private health insurance using government assistance to help pay for it. Do you think insurance sold that way should or should not be allowed to include coverage for birth control pills?

Age

Yes

No

<35

78.8%

21.2%

35–64

77.9%

22.1%

65+

59.4%

40.6%

Total

74.4%

25.6%

 

3. Do you think the federal government should subsidize birth control and other family planning services, NOT including abortion, at government-funded clinics for low-income women?

Age

Yes

No

<35

89.6%

10.4%

35–64

78.1%

21.9%

65+

69.7%

30.3%

Total

78.3%

21.7%

 

Some of this information is reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery. © Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

 

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