(Washington, DC) A report released today by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) exposes insurance company violations of the Affordable Care Act in all 15 states reviewed by NWLC and are likely to exist nationwide. The report details violations related to maternity care, birth control, breast-feeding support and supplies, genetic testing, well-woman visits, prescription drug coverage, care related to gender transition for transgender individuals, chronic pain treatment, and certain pre-existing conditions. The report also highlights examples of discriminatory practices, such as denying maternity coverage to daughters of subscribers. In a companion report, NWLC found that insurance plans across the country are violating the ACA’s birth control coverage requirements.
“Insurance companies are breaking the law by denying women coverage to which they are entitled,” said NWLC Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights Gretchen Borchelt. “The Affordable Care Act has made dramatic improvements in women’s health coverage, but insurers’ failure to comply with its requirements has serious consequences that affect women every day. Insurance companies must comply with the law, and regulators should do a better job enforcing it. Otherwise, women will again be at the mercy of insurers whose previous discriminatory practices drove the need for reform in the first place.”
In “State of Women’s Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act,” NWLC assessed coverage of women’s health services by analyzing coverage offered on health insurance Marketplaces by more than 100 insurance companies in 15 states during 2014 and 2015 and found that more than half of the issuers were violating the ACA. The extent of the violations indicates the problems are likely to be systemic nationwide.
In its second report, “State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act,” NWLC delved more deeply into coverage of FDA-approved birth control methods and found widespread violations of the ACA’s requirement that all such methods be covered without co-payments or deductibles. NWLC supplemented its review of plan documents with its own correspondence with insurance companies and with stories of real women gathered through NWLC’s CoverHer hotline, which is dedicated to helping women who are not receiving birth control coverage as required by law.
NWLC secured plan document information through online searches and by working with state advocates across the country. States reviewed include Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin. These states reflect a diverse sample in terms of geography, political environment, and use of a federal or state Marketplace.