WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan led 33 Senators in calling on the Biden administration to improve enforcement of the federal law that guarantees complete coverage of birth control for women who get their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Despite existing law, certain health insurers continue not to cover all birth control methods and deny women coverage for birth control even when their doctor recommends it.
To read coverage highlights, see below:
By Shefali Luthra
Democratic lawmakers are pressing the Biden administration to strengthen enforcement of a signature component of the Affordable Care Act: the guarantee that privately insured people can get birth control without paying anything out of pocket.
The health law’s contraceptive mandate, which dates back to 2012, requires that most private insurance plans cover at least one federally approved form of each method of birth control without a copay.
[…] But the mandate has never had a clear, strong enforcement mechanism. Reports collected since 2020 make the case that not all health plans are fully complying. And even in cases where plans may be satisfying the letter of the law, patients are still being hit with unexpected out-of-pocket costs.
[…] Lawmakers are pressing the executive branch to take action. In a December letter, Democratic Senators Patty Murray of Washington and Ron Wyden of Oregon said they had heard reports from patients and health care providers of contraception-related medical bills that should not be permitted. They called on the Biden administration to investigate these claims — and to develop a mechanism that spurs plans to comply with the ACA mandate.
[…] Another letter, sent Wednesday morning and signed by 34 Democratic senators, led by Sen. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and not including Murray and Wyden, reiterated the demand that the three departments develop strong enforcement mechanisms for the contraceptive mandate. The letter also asks that the administration craft clear guidelines for what the contraceptive copay exceptions process should look like, including creating a specific form that health care providers can use to get a patient’s out-of-pocket fees waived. […]
By Sarah Owermohle, with Alice Miranda Ollstein, David Lim, Katherine Foley and Erin Banco
[…] Nearly three dozen Senate Democrats led by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) wrote to the secretaries of Health, Labor and the Treasury on Wednesday calling for stepped-up enforcement of Obamacare’s requirement that insurance companies cover all FDA-approved forms of birth control at no cost to patients.
“Since the ACA’s passage, certain insurers have not complied with this provision,” wrote the senators, citing data and testimonies gathered by the National Women’s Law Center and the Labor Department. “Ultimately, these actions make it harder for people to access medically necessary birth control and force them to pay out-of-pocket for services that they are legally entitled to receive cost-free.”
The senators are specifically asking the Biden administration for issue new guidance that insurers provide an easy way for patients to request an exemption if they’re denied coverage of their preferred method of contraception and to lay out a new enforcement mechanism to crack down on noncompliant insurance companies by the end of March, Alice writes. […]