It's often been said that music is the great unifier, speaking a universal language that binds people together. I don't know if that's necessarily true — just ask the thousands of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift stans who've sworn to be eternally pitted against one another — but what I do know is that the music industry, with all its flaws, can be a truly powerful force.
Two mega-music labels, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Warner Music Group (WMG), announced this week that they would continue to pay for employee birth control under their company health insurance plans, Billboard reports.
The decision couldn't have come at a better time, since the Trump administration announced earlier this month its decision to no longer require employers to cover the costs of birth control — a regulation implemented under Obama as part of the Affordable Care Act — effective immediately.
Both companies circulated separate memos following inquiries from several employees.
"As we are going through 2018 Open Enrollment many of you have expressed concern over how the Trump Administration's executive order and Repeal & Replace proposals will impact WMG Benefits," WMG's EVP human resources Masha Osherova said in the memo, according to Billboard. "I would like to assure you that WMG will still continue to cover all '10 Essential Benefits' such as pre-existing conditions, inpatient and outpatient hospital care, prescription drug coverage (including birth control), family planning and mental health services."
UMG's memo reportedly stated that in addition to contraception the company would cover "a wide range of preventative services ranging from contraception, mammograms and well-woman exams to immunizations, annual physical exams, screenings for various illnesses and much more."
It's no wonder so many people were worried about their coverage. Without help from insurance, HelloFlo reports that birth control pills can cost anywhere from $20-50 a month, while IUDs and implants can cost up to $800.
UMG's and WMG's reassuring memos came just as Planned Parenthood announced its #Fight4BirthControl and #BusinessForBC campaigns, which aims to educate both employees and their employers on how to productively discuss healthcare and why having access to birth control is so important to women, non-binary, and trans people.
If you're hoping to have one of these conversations, remember that any reason you choose to use birth control — from pregnancy prevention to treating endometriosis — is completely valid and you owe no one a detailed explanation as to why contraception is important to you specifically.