Contraception Use, Abortions, and Births: The Effect of Insurance Mandates
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Beginning August, 2012, the U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) required new private health insurance plans to cover contraceptive methods and counseling without requiring an insured’s copay. The ACA represents the first instance of federally mandated contraception insurance coverage, but 30 U.S. states had already mandated contraceptive insurance coverage through state-level legislation prior to the ACA. This study examines whether mandated insurance coverage of contraception affects contraception use, abortions, and births. I find that mandates increase the likelihood of contraception use by 2.1 percentage points, decrease the abortion rate by 3 %, and have an insignificant impact on the birth rate. The results imply a lower-bound estimate that the ACA will result in approximately 25,000 fewer abortions.
KeywordsContraception Insurance Mandates Abortions Affordable Care Act
I am grateful to the Editor and two anonymous referees for comments that substantially improved this article. I am especially grateful to Jason Abrevaya, Daniel Hamermesh, Sandra Black, and Steve Trejo for their feedback and invaluable guidance. I also thank Mark Hayward, John Smith, and participants at the Labor lunch seminar at UT-Austin for their useful comments and feedback.
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