The White House Clarifies Birth Control Mandate

The White House Clarifies Birth Control Mandate

The Obama Administration recently released the FDA’s new birth control guides, identifying 18 specific methods for women that insurers are required to cover, without cost-sharing. The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and Treasury released the guidance fact sheet simultaneously. Three oral contraceptive methods (progestin-only, combined and extended/continuous use), the ring, patch, implants, emergency contraception (Next Choice/Plan B/Plan B One Step), IUDs and injectables will all be covered.

The Affordable Care Acts’ (ACA) birth control mandate has been controversial. Some employers objected according to their religious beliefs. This came to the public consciousness through coverage of the Supreme Court’s 2014 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores case. The retail hobby and craft store objected to providing contraception in their healthcare coverage. The Supreme Court sided with the retailer. In the wake of this, the Obama administration changed the mandate and cut out the employer. Health insurers now have to cover contraception. The employer does not.

Some employers still objected as they had to sign a notice stating that they understood their employee was still receiving these benefits but they themselves wouldn’t have to pay. The HHS first sent out an email stating that it had received complaints that insurance companies were not covering the birth control methods recommended to women by their doctors. These new guidelines are to clear up any misunderstanding, the HHS said. Pro-life activists are still upset with the new provisions as they allow for IUD and Ella methods to be covered.

The president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund praised the move, as did the president and CEO of the America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP). These new guidelines will also cover the transgendered according to The National Health Law Program (NHeLP). For instance, a transgendered man can receive a mammogram or pap smear and rest assured that it will be covered. By and large the new guidelines are getting a warm reception.

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