What is Family PACT?

birth control Family PACT is not, technically, the same thing as health insurance. However, it is a good option for low income people who are interested in obtaining health care that is related to family planning. It is a program that exists only in California. Other states may have a similar program, with a different name.

People who are able to afford to purchase private health insurance can receive everything that has officially been categorized as “preventative care” for free. This health reform law went into affect on March 23, 2010. All health insurance policies that were purchased on or after September 23, 2010, have to abide by that law. This means that insurers cannot charge people for a co-pay, deductible, or co-insurance when the person is seeing a doctor specifically for something that has been declared “preventative care”.

On August 1, 2011, a law was passed that added all contraceptive methods that had been approved by the FDA, (as well as counseling about those forms of birth control), into the category of “preventative care”. This means that beginning on August 1, 2012, all health insurance plans must cover the cost of birth control without charging women for a co-pay, deductible, or co-insurance.

Right now, there are a lot of families who are not protected by those laws. In order to have your health insurance cover birth control, you have to actually have health insurance.

If you purchased your policy before August 1, 2011, then your insurer doesn’t have to cover the cost of birth control at all, (or perhaps until your policy is ready to be renewed). If you bought health insurance after August 1, 2011, then you have several months to wait until your plan will cover birth control.

Some people might be eligible for Family PACT. It is not, technically, a form of health insurance. It is a program that “provides no-cost family planning services to low-income men and women, including teens”. This is a program that is only available in California. Other states could have similar programs, (that may have a different name). PACT stands for: Planning, Access, Care, Treatment.

I have been living in California since 2005, and I have been writing about insurance, (including health insurance) for about two years now. I had no idea that Family PACT even existed until earlier this month, when I was searching for an affordable way to get birth control. My husband and I are unable to afford private health insurance coverage. I learned about this program by accident, when I called Planned Parenthood for information about the cost of birth control.

Family PACT is for women, men and teens who are able to become pregnant or are able to make someone else pregnant. It is for California residents who are low-income. You might qualify for Family PACT:

If you have no medical insurance and can’t get Medi-Cal
If you have insurance, but it doesn’t cover family planning or birth control methods
If you have insurance but have not met your deductible
If you have Medi-Cal with Share of Cost but you have not met your Share of Cost
If you have Medi-Cal but it doesn’t cover family planning
Or, if you have insurance or Medi-Cal but you need to keep family planning services confidential

Image by brains the head on Flickr

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About Jen Thorpe

I have a B.S. in Education and am a former teacher and day care worker. I started working as a freelance writer in 2010 and have written for many topics here at Families.com.