Obama Administration Reminds Insurers That They're Required By Law To Cover Birth Control

| by Ethan Brown
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The Obama administration has clarified a controversial section of the Affordable Care Act by reiterating that insurance companies are required by law to pay for all forms of FDA-approved birth control.

Recent reports showed that women are still purchasing birth control that should be covered by the regulations in the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare. Since then, the White House has strengthened the legislation’s position on the measure by specifically forcing all insurers to pay for their customers’ birth control costs, Time reports.

“Insurance companies have been breaking the law and today the Obama administration underscored that it will not tolerate these violations. It is past time for insurers to adhere to the law and stop telling women that their chosen method isn’t covered or that they must pay for it,” Gretchen Borchelt, the National Women’s Law Center Vice President for Health and Reproductive Rights, wrote in a statement.

Prior to the new restrictions, it was unclear what types of birth control would be covered under the ACA. Now, the administration has removed any ambiguity surrounding the matter by listing all 18 forms of birth control that will be covered under the legislation.

“Today’s guidance seeks to eliminate any ambiguity. Insurers must cover without cost-sharing at least one form of contraception in each of the methods (currently 18) that the FDA has identified for women in its current Birth Control Guide, including the ring, the patch and the intrauterine devices,” the Department of Health and Human Services said.

The investigation into insurance companies first started last month when The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan research group on health, reported that insurers were not providing all 18 methods of contraception free of charge to the consumer.

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) commented on the matter, saying the research from the Foundation and the National Women’s Law Center was not the best representation of the current coverage methods and would work with the federal government to provide the best care possible.

“Today’s guidance takes important steps to support health plans’ use of medical management in providing women with safe, affordable health care services,” Karen Ignagni, the president of AHIP, said in a statement.

Despite the new regulations, ObamaCare will still allow insurers to purchase generic brands of contraception instead of brand names, likely saving much needed funds, The Hill reports.

The 18 types of contraception that insurance companies must cover for customers are as follows:

• Sterilization surgery
• Surgical sterilization implant
• Implantable rod
• Copper intrauterine device
• IUDs with progestin (a hormone)
• Shot/injection
• Oral contraceptives (the pill), with estrogen and progestin
• Oral contraceptives with progestin only
• Oral contraceptives, known as extended or continuous use that delay menstruation
• The patch
• Vaginal contraceptive ring
• Diaphragm
• Sponge
• Cervical cap
• Female condom
• Spermicide
• Emergency contraception (Plan B/morning-after pill)
• Emergency contraception (a different pill called Ella)

Sources: The HillTime

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