Today, the House passed legislation guaranteeing access to copay-free contraception in Massachusetts. A woman’s right to access contraception, regardless of her economic status, has always been a priority for us. This bill is an affirmative statement that Massachusetts will continue to lead on important healthcare issues.
Under the Affordable Care Act, plans in the health insurance market must cover contraceptive methods and counseling for all women, as prescribed by a healthcare provider. Today’s legislation would ensure continued access despite attempts by Congress to eliminate such coverage.
In fact, the bill goes further than current law by giving women the option to pick up a year’s worth of birth control pills at one time, rather than purchasing it on a monthly basis.
The legislation is a compromise between reproductive rights advocates, including Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice, and health insurance companies. The agreement shows that Massachusetts knows how to talk, work through our differences, and create workable solutions despite the rhetoric and polarization in Washington.
Under the bill, health plans will provide coverage, without cost-sharing, restrictions or delays, for all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices and other products. It also covers emergency contraception, patient education, counseling on contraception, and coverage for follow-up services.
Studies show that access to family planning services has significant health benefits through reductions in unwanted and high-risk pregnancies, maternal and infant morbidity and mortality, unsafe abortions, and medical therapy. Beyond that, access to contraception is a major factor for women completing their education and in the workforce. The House is committed to empowering women to make informed decisions about their health.