Here at NWLC, we are big fans of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit because it removes cost barriers to birth control and has the potential to change women’s lives. Which is why the findings in our report, “State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act,” are so troubling. While most women are getting coverage of birth control without out-of-pocket costs like the law requires, some insurance companies are not complying with the law. Some insurance companies charge women for their birth control, do not cover it at all, charge for services associated with the birth control, or place unallowable limits on the coverage. When we uncover these violations of the law, we know that women aren’t able to access their birth control method because of the cost barrier.
The birth control benefit isn’t just sort-of the law. It is the law, and insurance companies must comply. Our report recommends that insurance companies take a close look at their plans to make sure they comply with the law. We also recommend that state and federal governments ensure that all plans comply with the law. And, the federal government must issue regulations to make it absolutely clear to insurance companies that what they are doing is not allowed.
If you or someone you know has been charged for birth control, our CoverHer Hotline can help determine if what happened is allowed under the ACA and provides resources to help appeal inappropriate charges.