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HB 417
Contraceptive Privacy for Missouri Workers 

HB 417 -  Rep. Peters (D-76, St. Louis)

The “Birth Control Act of 2017” adds common-sense privacy protections for Missouri workers. Decisions about contraception are personal and private — they’re not your boss’s business. 

When an employer offers a health insurance coverage or health wellness programs for its workers, the insurance company or wellness program can share certain information with the employer. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that sets rules for health care providers and health insurance companies to protect patient privacy. However, not all wellness programs are covered by HIPAA and are collecting extensive information about health habits, medication, and other sensitive information including contraceptive use or non-use. House Bill 417 ensures that no information relating to contraceptive use may be shared with with an employer by an insurance company or wellness program.

Companies are using big data to track individuals contraceptive use.

Workplace wellness program are mining workers’ health data to predict who may become pregnant, in part by scanning medical claims and identifying women who stop filling prescriptions for birth control. If employers can identify when a woman decides to stop using contraception — whether it’s for family planning purposes or not — that can mean lost jobs, missed opportunities for advancement, and diminished financial stability. This legislation will eliminate confusion in existing law and establish strong safeguards for women’s privacy.

Lack of privacy protections can be a barrier to contraceptive use.

The decision to use contraception is personal and private. Individuals may forgo contraception if their employer would find out.

Confidentiality is key to the patient-provider relationship.

Individuals may be reluctant to share information with their providers when privacy is not protected. Open and honest communication is essential in order for a provider to give high-quality care.

Lawmakers should encourage Missourians to take care of their health.

By proactively safeguarding patient privacy, HB 417 will ensure Missourians can get the care they need and use their insurance without fearing their employer will find out about their private health care decisions.

Download this fact sheet as a PDF.