Since some insurers obviously didn’t listen the first time, the folks that brought them Obamacare are re-sending a message disguised as “new guidance.”
The subject: coverage of contraceptive methods. As part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration had expressly laid out certain medical services and products that had to be included in insurance plans.
So now comes the new guidance to make absolutely clear what was intended all along.
“Today’s guidance seeks to eliminate any ambiguity,” the Department of Health and Human Services said. “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 intrauterine devices.”
This clarity has insurance industry representatives grinding their teeth. The requirement smacks of a free pass for contraceptive drug and product manufacturers to charge what they like, argues trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans. AHIP’s CEO, Karen Ignagni, labeled the coverage requirement a “dream play for drug manufacturers.”
But Congressional supporters were happy to see the administration sticking with the policy.
Said U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), “I’m pleased that with this announcement [HHS] Secretary Burwell is acting to address these violations as well as others that have become barriers to accessing critical preventive care, especially for those in the transgender community.”