Two is company, three is a crowd, and four, well, four is great news for the birth control coverage requirement. On Monday, the Fifth Circuit became the fourth appeals court to reject non-profits’ challenges to the accommodation in the birth control requirement of the Affordable Care Act.
What the Accommodation Is
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes a provision that requires insurance plans to cover birth control alongside a range of other preventive services, without co-payments or deductibles. The accommodation allows a non-profit organization with religious objections to birth control to exclude it from its insurance plan. The non-profit must notify its insurance plan or the federal government of its objections, so that women who work for objecting employers get birth control coverage directly from the insurance company. Read more »
I’ve had some unpleasant experiences trying to pick up prescriptions. I arrive at my local pharmacy, full of hope that I won’t have to wait long because I called in my prescription a few hours ago. Then I see the line and all the people in the waiting area and my heart drops. Various thoughts go through my head: Should I come back later? Should I wait it out? Will I be late to my other appointments? What will happen if I miss a dose? Recently, D.C. took a step forward to help women avoid these questions and uncertainty when it comes to their birth control. The D.C. Council passed a bill that would require insurance plans and the District’s Medicaid program to allow women to access a twelve month supply of birth control at one time.
Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court decided the case of Griswold v. Connecticut, which legalized access to and use of birth control. Whether you’re part of the 99% of women who use birth control at some point in their lives or not, Griswold has had an impact your life. Griswold was the foundation for many of the rights that shape our lives today, like the right to determine if and when to have children, the right to determine how to raise your children, and the right to have intimate relationships with whomever you love. Read more »
Growing up, I was not fond of my middle name. Griswold isn’t exactly every eight-year-old’s dream middle name. I tried to avoid anything with monogrammed initials for fear that someone would ask me what the G stood for. Grace served as a convenient substitute. Then I heard about Griswold v. Read more »
The House of Representatives and Senate are currently working on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a bill that provides funds for the military. The bill includes provisions that support the health care needs for members of the Armed Services and their dependents.
This year, the House and Senate versions of the bill include provisions that would improve women servicemembers’ access to birth control. It provides for comprehensive counseling and education about contraception. And, the House bill would ensure a woman servicemember has access to the birth control she needs at all times, particularly when she is deployed. Read more »
Here at NWLC, we are big fans of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit because it removes cost barriers to birth control and has the potential to change women’s lives. Which is why the findings in our report, “State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act,” are so troubling. While most women are getting coverage of birth control without out-of-pocket costs like the law requires, some insurance companies are not complying with the law. Some insurance companies charge women for their birth control, do not cover it at all, charge for services associated with the birth control, or place unallowable limits on the coverage. When we uncover these violations of the law, we know that women aren’t able to access their birth control method because of the cost barrier. Read more »
We all know that the majority in the House of the Representatives doesn’t look too kindly on women’s constitutional right to privacy, which includes the right to use birth control and to have an abortion. Already four months into the new Congress, the majority has voted to permanently ban any federal insurance or health program from covering abortion except in very limited circumstances. It tried to pass an unconstitutional bill that would ban abortions after twenty-weeks but only failed to do so because of an internal disagreement about whether rape survivors must report their rape to get their abortions covered.
Why do these House members want to ban insurance coverage of reproductive health care and ban some abortions? Because they want to impose their own personal beliefs about birth control and abortion on the clear majority of the American population who does not hold similar views. They want to legislate women’s bodies and interfere in women’s reproductive health decisions. Read more »
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (the ACA or Obamacare) health plans are required to cover many women’s preventive services, including birth control, without copays or deductibles. However, a new Kaiser Family Foundation study of health plans and their birth control coverage found that some plans are utilizing “medical management” for some birth control methods, often resulting in barriers for women accessing the method that has been prescribed to them by their health care provider. Examples of medical management used by plans includes placing some methods into cost-sharing “tiers,” requiring that providers give pre-authorization for a prescription before covering it, and in some cases requiring that a covered method “fail” before covering a woman’s preferred method.
At a briefing held yesterday at the Kaiser Family Foundation, panelists discussed the implications of the study and the potential harm when medical management becomes an obstacle for women accessing birth control. One panelist – an insurance plan representative – described the logic behind this type of medical management as “indefensible.” Our own Gretchen Borchelt, VP for Health and Reproductive Rights at the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), drove home the importance of compliance by health plans, by explaining that these are not just problems or barriers, but are violations of the law. Read more »