81% of U.S. Adults Say Birth Control Pills Should Be Covered by Health Insurance

According to some of the results of an online survey of 2,402 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older, conducted between March 20 and 22, 2007 for The Wall Street Journal Online’s Health Industry Edition, 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.

Approval for Medical Use

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.

What Should Insurance Cover?

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.