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Contact: Steve Jensen

The following is testimony given Tuesday to the Legislature's Insurance and Real Estate Committee by State Comptroller Nancy Wyman in support of House Bill 5950, An Act Requiring Health Insurers to Cover Prescription Birth Control:

"In 1848, the modern women's movement began in Seneca Falls, New York. A group of reformers put forward the bold notion that the rights in the Declaration of Independence belong to men and women. Today, equal rights remain a goal -- not a fact.

"A demonstration of this inequity is found in the fact that nearly half of all insurance companies currently do not offer payment for birth control. Since women most often take the responsibility for birth control in a relationship, they are forced to bear the burden of greater out-of-pocket expenses then men for health coverage.

"Historically, the medical profession has not met women's contraceptive needs. Only 40% of managed care plans cover FDA approved contraceptives such as the birth control pill, Norplant, Depo Provera, the IUD and the diaphragm.

"Last year, when similar legislation was stopped before a public hearing, I led an effort to extend prescription birth control coverage to state employees. While this is not an employer-sponsored benefit, the health insurance companies agreed to pass through the prescriptions at their cost ($14.00/month). This has saved women $192 per year (or $16.00/month) in insurance company profits and has served well as an interim solution.

"Based on the numbers of women affected, the cost to their economic welfare and the fact that this is a health care staple for women, immediate action should be taken. I congratulate this committee for giving this bill a public hearing and encourage you to reject the scare-tactics utilized in the last legislative session by those who oppose it.

"At the very least, a straight, up or down vote on this issue will demonstrate your commitment to the equal rights of Connecticut's women. Beyond that, I encourage your support of this important legislation."

The State Comptroller appreciates input on this and other issues from residents of the state. Please feel free to contact her office by phone - (860) 702-3300; mail - OSC, 55 Elm Street, Hartford, CT 06106; or, via E-mail -

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For Immediate Release
March 1, 1999

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