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Insurance Industry Could Take Hit from Birth Control Mandate (The Hill)

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The insurance industry is concerned it will take a hit from the Obama administration’s mandate that they provide birth control in health plans for employees of religious organizations who object to the coverage. Publicly, the health insurance industry has avoided getting involved in the fight. But in private, the industry is dubious of the administration’s argument that they wouldn’t take a hit because birth control is cheaper than unwanted pregnancies. “Saying it’s revenue-neutral doesn’t mean it’s free and that you’re not paying for it,” an industry source told The Hill. Doctors still have to be paid to prescribe the pill, drugmakers and pharmacists have to be paid to provide it — and all that money has to come from insurance premiums, not future hypothetical savings, the source said. In fact, in a survey of 15 large health plans this week, Reuters found that 40% of participants said they expect the requirement will increase costs through higher pharmacy expenses. None said it would lead to net savings.