Budget 2022: Contraception scheme explained from hidden cost to launch date

By Thomas Telford

It is expected to be confirmed in Budget 2022 that a program to offer free contraception will be confirmed.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly is believed to have secured a fund of around €10 million that is to be made available in order to pay for this new scheme.

Two weeks ago, Stephen Donnelly told RTE Radio: "a big priority for me is women’s health care. For example, next year, I want to see the rollout of funding free contraception."

"In women’s health care there’s a lot we’ve done in the last year, but there’s an awful lot further to go. So yes, I’ll be looking for funding for universal health care, for waiting lists, for the winter plan, for women’s health care for public health, mental health."

This new scheme is similar to the program being launched in France for women aged 25 and under which will also come into effect next year.

A report from life sciences company, Bayer, claims that as society continues to open and the Covid-19 vaccination program finishes up, the demand for health and reproductive services for women will increase.

Green Party Spokesperson for Health, Neasa Hourigan has campaigned on this issue and said: "Access to free contraception is about giving people, regardless of their financial means, complete control over their own bodies and lives - whether to have children and when to have them."

"It is the next step on from the autonomy provided to women when we repealed the Eighth Amendment. We negotiated to include this commitment in the Programme for Government and now we need to deliver on that commitment."

Here's everything you need to know about this new scheme.

When will the rollout begin?

According to the Irish Mirror, the free contraception program will be launched in July or August of next year.

Who qualifies for it?

Women aged between 17 - 25 will be able to take advantage of the free contraception scheme.

What type of contraception is available?

The contraceptive pill will be made available but there will also be options for women who chose a longer form of contraception.

Is it completely free?

No. While the contraceptive pill itself will be free of charge, women will still have to pay the prescription charge. For longer forms of contraception, the cost of fitting and removing long forms of contraception will also be free.

GP consultations

The Irish Mirror is also reporting that women will be able to avail themselves of two free GP visits per year to discuss prospective contraception options.

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