Date: January 16th, 2024

To: Representative Haden and Members, House Committee on Healthcare Reform

From: Mallory Rusch, Executive Director at Empower Missouri

Re: Our support for HB 2190

I ask that you vote ‘do pass’ on HB 2190. This bill requires insurance companies to cover a full year of oral contraception, after a doctor prescribes it.  This enables individuals who want to use oral contraception to prevent pregnancy to be able to have fewer missed doses and increase medication compliance, resulting in fewer unwanted pregnancies.  

Empower Missouri is the largest and oldest anti-poverty non-profit in our state. We view the experience of poverty holistically, with impacts in all areas of an individual’s life. We are not a healthcare provider, and we do not counsel individuals on their healthcare choices. However, we do see a clear connection between family planning and poverty. All families in our state should have the chance to decide when and how to have children, especially households with fewer resources.

A 2019 study from the Veterans Affairs healthcare system followed over 24,000 women to see how annual birth control impacted them. The VA showed an annual savings of over $2,000,000 and prevented over 500 unintended pregnancies. Women in the study had fewer missed doses and were able to avoid any coverage gaps caused by pharmacy slow downs or scheduling issues.

Oral contraception is especially effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies. These pregnancies can be very expensive to a household, especially when low wage workers are less likely to have paid family leave. When unplanned pregnancies include surprises like bed rest, it is easy to see how supporting annual contraception is a sound financial choice for a family. 

Families in rural sections of our state will especially benefit from having an annual supply of medication. They are more likely to have to travel to pharmacies which may not be in their communities. Rural households in poverty also often struggle with transportation, further increasing the barriers to filling their birth control prescriptions every 30 or 90 days. 

We thank you for your support on this bill and encourage any members of the committee to reach out to our office with any questions.

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