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Biden Administration Presses Insurers on Contraceptive Coverage

Analysis  |  By Jay Asser  
   June 28, 2022

Officials warned payers of their legal obligation to cover contraception at no cost under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the Biden administration reminded health insurers they are legally required to provide contraceptive coverage at no cost under the ACA.

HHS secretary Xavier Becerra and Labor secretary Marty Walsh met with leaders from insurers and employee benefit plans, while the two joined Treasury secretary Janet L. Yellen in issuing a letter to payers underlining contraceptive coverage obligations.

The ACA guarantees coverage of women's preventative services, including birth control and contraceptive counseling at no cost for individuals and covered dependents in all 50 states. However, some insurers are not complying with the regulations, according to the secretaries.

"The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to strengthening access to care and coverage," the secretaries wrote in the letter. "We are calling on the industry to remove impermissible barriers and ensure individuals have access to the contraceptive coverage they need, as required under the law. It is more important than ever to ensure access to contraceptive coverage with no out-of-pocket costs under the Affordable Care Act."

Payers are required to cover at least one form of contraception in each contraceptive category, along with Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive products that an individual and their provider have deemed medically appropriate.

The departments expect insurers to immediately take the necessary steps to ensure compliance and avoid future enforcement actions.

The meeting with industry leaders was attended by America's Health Insurance Plans, Association for Community Affiliated Health Plans, Centene, Humana, Business Group on Health, CVS Health, ERISA Industry Committee, HR Policy Association, AFL-CIO, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, Express Scripts, Optum, United Health Group, Kaiser Permanente, and Alliance of Community Health Plans.

"We are calling on your organizations to remove impermissible barriers and ensure individuals in your plans have access to the contraceptive coverage they need, as required under the law," the secretaries wrote. "It is more important than ever to ensure access to contraceptive coverage without cost sharing, as afforded by the ACA."

Jay Asser is an associate editor for HealthLeaders.


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