Many Say Birth Control Pills Should Be Covered By Health Insurance

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Health Insurance for Birth Control?

Most U.S. adults support approving the use of medical treatments and procedures that can impact people's quality of life, including birth control treatments, in-vitro fertilization, drugs to treat erectile dysfunction and improve memory and to help with weight loss.

Large majorities also believe these types of treatments should be covered by health insurance. Support for approval and coverage diminishes for treatments that primarily impact people's personal appearance, such as drugs to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, plastic surgery to help people look younger and growth hormones to help children grow taller.

These are some of the results of an online survey of 2,402 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older, conducted by Harris Interactive(R) between March 20 and 22, 2007 for The Wall Street Journal Online's Health Industry Edition.

Strong majorities support the approval of medical treatments such as birth-control pills and other birth-control procedures (88%), drugs that improve memory (77%) and in-vitro fertilization (76%) if they are generally safe and effective. Men are more likely than women to believe that treatments impacting people's personal appearance, such as drugs that help with weight loss (68% vs. 67%, respectively) or plastic surgery (52% vs. 46%) should be approved.

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Eight in ten (81%) adults believe that birth-control pills and other birth-control procedures should be covered by health insurance, at least in some part and two-thirds (63%) support coverage for in-vitro fertilization. Women are more likely than men to feel that birth-control treatments (88% vs. 72%) and in-vitro fertilization (69% vs. 59%) should be covered by health insurance. More than two-thirds of all adults think insurance should cover drugs that improve memory (65%), while three in five (59%) support coverage for weight-loss drugs and half (50%) support coverage for drugs to treat erectile or other sexual dysfunction. Only one in five adults (21%) believes that drugs to help keep you awake should be covered by insurance and 13 percent support insurance coverage for drugs to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Harris Interactive(R) conducted this online survey within the United States between April 4 and 6, 2007 among a national cross section of 2,402 adults, ages 18 years and over. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting.

With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite "margin of error" for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided.

With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With pure probability samples of 2,402 one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the results would have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples would be higher and may vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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