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LD 1954 closes an insurance loophole in the Affordable Care Act

This week, the Maine House and Senate approved a bill to close an insurance company loophole that allowed insurance companies to deny no-copay coverage of birth control. The measure was passed under the hammer without objections in the Senate and the House.

While the Affordable Care Act mandated no-copay birth control, it requires insurers to provide coverage for just one contraceptive product within each method with no cost sharing, so many products are left out. If companies cover one birth control pill without copays, they can deny no-copay coverage for all other birth control pills. 

Most American women will use at least three different types of birth control in their lifetimes and nearly one-third will use more than five. Different birth control methods can make meaningful differences for people, but because of the “just one” limitation, they don’t qualify for no cost sharing.

LD 1954, sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, closes this loophole by requiring insurance companies to cover all birth control methods approved by the FDA. 

If the bill becomes law, Maine would join a growing list of states (including CA, CT, DE, IL, MD, MA, NJ, NY, OR, and WA) and the District of Columbia in expanding upon birth control coverage provisions in the Affordable Care Act.

In its first year, the Affordable Care Act’s birth control provision saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone. Prior to the rule, one in three women voters struggled to afford prescription birth control, including 57 percent of young women aged 18 to 34.

Statement from Nicole Clegg, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund

The enactment of the ACA in 2010 was a watershed moment for our nation’s healthcare systems, expanding coverage for tens of millions of Americans. No cost-sharing birth control coverage significantly increased the ability of people to obtain access to affordable prescriptions. This bill is another step forward for Maine patients by allowing patients and providers, not insurance companies, to determine the best birth control method. 

 

The bill faces final votes in the Senate before going to Governor Mills for her signature. 

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