Saturday, February 18, 2012

Contraception and insurance, tellingly written & posted on a Saturday night

Overlooked in the controversy over the mandatory nature of supplying contraceptive services by way of employer health insurance is the question of why it is a part of insurance in the first place.  You insure against financial losses of a chance nature which would be otherwise difficult to absorb.  Much to my regret, I’m all too familiar with the chance need for contraception, but even if I had something approaching charm, any seductive ability at all, I still wouldn’t see the need or merit to buy insurance to cover contraception. 

Consider the numbers.  I pay $56 a month for internet service, $58 for my phone, and the current price of a condom is approximately $2.25 per pop (or non-pop if that is the focus of your attention). My math gets me 30.42 days or 4.35 weeks in an average month, so if I calculate further my birth control costs would equal my internet/phone costs if I had sex 25 – 26 times a month, or about 5.75 days every week: a) I should be so blessed b) why would this not be a perfectly ordinary expense which has no place in the scheme of insurance?

In large part the answer has to do with taxes.  If my contraception costs are included as part of my health insurance then I’m paying for them with tax free income as opposed to after tax income, so it makes sense to pack as much expense as you can get away with into your health “insurance”.  Then to, if I don’t think about it, I can easily believe that it is free since I’m not paying for it out of my own pocket (as if the employer pays you a salary and then tacks on the benefit costs out of the goodness of his/her heart). 

In short, to a considerable degree we have a issue of liberty and social controversy instigated by the government, on a matter also brought about by government.  I know, I know, what a surprise.

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