Resource

The Affordable Care Act’s Birth Control Benefit: Progress On Implementation and Continuing Challenges

Reports & Toolkits 20 minutes

The federal health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurance plans to cover all Food and Drug Administration-approved methods of birth control for women without out-of-pocket costs (the “birth control benefit”). Implementation of the birth control benefit has caused significant improvements in birth control coverage and access for many women, however there have been reports of problems with proper implementation of the birth control benefit, including the National Women’s Law Center’s State of Birth Control Coverage: Health Plan Violations of the Affordable Care Act in April 2015. In part in response to the reports of violations of the birth control benefit, the federal government issued guidance in May 2015 clarifying details about the benefit to ensure that plans and issuers provide the coverage required by the law. This guidance has been instrumental in ensuring compliance with the law.  But reports of violations of the birth control benefit continue, which require correction by insurance companies and further attention from the federal government and states that enforce the law. To that end, this report provides additional recommended actions that insurance companies, the federal government, and state regulators can take to ensure women get the birth control coverage guaranteed to them by the ACA.

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