A Pennsylvania state legislator wants to make contraceptives easier to access by requiring health insurers to cover their costs.
Rep. Leanne Krueger, D-Delaware, introduced House Bill 2454, a 15-page bill that requires insurers to cover birth control in federal changes that Krueger said left 2.5 million users of contraceptives in Pennsylvania without equitable and affordable access to contraception. House Bill 2454 was assigned to the House Insurance Committee.
Krueger cites federally approved 2017 and 2018 rules allowing private employers and educational institutions that disagree with the use of contraception to be exempt from the Act’s requirement of affordable care for insurers to cover some or all of the cost of contraceptives under a health plan.
“In the summer of 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that allows employers to be exempt from Affordable Care Act mandates to provide birth control to employees if they are unwell. oppose it because of religious or moral values”, Krueger wrote in his legislative memorandum. “This summer’s decision jeopardizes the health and economic security of at least 2.5 million women in Pennsylvania who depend on this coverage to access affordable and effective contraceptives.”
Krueger’s legislation indicates the state has a compelling interest in ensuring Pennsylvania residents have access to contraception through equitable insurance coverage, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and CDC guidelines showing that women Pregnant women with COVID-19 are at higher risk of serious illness and intensive care. It proposes not to allow health insurers to require prior authorization, usage review or step therapy requirements for contraceptives, not to allow health insurers to require co-payment, coinsurance, a deductible or other cost-sharing for contraceptives and not to allow insurers to require a prescription for over-the-counter drugs, devices or other contraceptive products.
“Contraception is health care, and employers should not be allowed to decide what medical care a woman is entitled to receive. Access to health care is inextricably linked to economic mobility, and basic preventative care like birth control should not be a luxury reserved for the few,” Krueger wrote. “As lawmakers, we should be reducing barriers to health care, not creating more.”
In February, Maine lawmakers introduced legislation that would expand provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to cover at least one birth control product in each birth control category at no cost. The bill would require coverage of all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs at no cost to patients.