Words: Ellen Kenny
Women between the ages of 17 and 25 will be able to access free contraception under new legislation.
President Michael D Higgins signed the The Health (Miscellaneous Provisions) (No. 2) Act 2022 today. The provisions will be implemented by September.
The Department of Health estimated that free contraception could save young women hundreds of euro every year.
The Bill states that the State will cover the cost of prescribed contraception. This includes the cost of consultations to discuss suitable contraception options and obtain a prescription, and the cost of contraceptive options currently available to medical card holders. This includes contraceptive injections, implants, IUS and IUDs, the contraceptive patch and ring and various forms of oral contraception. Emergency contraception will also be free.
The average cost of a consultation to discuss contraceptive is 60 euros, while a follow-up appointment costs 45 euros. The average cost of a contraceptive pack is between five and eight euros. The EllaOne emergency contraceptive costs 60 euros.
The average cost of a coil insertion, refit and removal is 510 euros. The average cost of hormal implant contraceptive is 440 euros. All of these costs will now be free for women aged between 17 and 25.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly welcomed the Bill passing. According to Donnelly, “free contraception is a cost-effective measure, reducing both crisis pregnancy and termination of pregnancy rates.”
“Given that the costs of prescription contraception are typically faced by women, the scheme will impact positively on gender equity, reducing costs for women, but also benefitting their partners and families, starting with women aged 17-25.”
The Act will also abolish the cost of in-patient and out-patient charges for children under 16 in all public hospitals. Currently, public patients, including children, are subject to a statutory public in-patient charge of 80 euros per night.
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