In my years of practicing medicine as an OB/GYN, I’ve learned not only about the female reproductive system but also how an ever-changing landscape of laws regulates it. Most recently, at the end of January, the Biden administration proposed a new rule to expand access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act. It reverses some of the limits to birth control that the Trump administration enacted in 2017. If the new rule passes, employers would no longer be able to opt out of coverage for contraceptives based on “moral exemptions.” (Religious exceptions are still accepted, even under this new proposal.)

Understanding the indirect and direct costs of excluding birth control coverage is important in evaluating coverage. State and federal policy changes can mean expensive changes; understanding how this directly affects the women in your organization, as well as internal discussions about your organization’s mission and what that means for how you support employees, can help you build a meaningful health plan that also manages costs.

Keeping up with changes in health care regulations is challenging for all the key players: payors, providers, and patients. What hasn’t changed is that women bear the brunt of the decisions that lobbyists and legislators make without their input. As a provider, an advocate, and a leader in digital health for women, here are my recommendations for what employers, advisors, and brokers should know about birth control and why it’s an essential health benefit to cover.

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