Free birth control guaranteed by federal law, says Biden administration

The Biden administration issued guidelines Thursday reiterating that free birth control is guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act regardless of what state a person might be living in.

Driving the news: The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury issued the guidelines in response to “increased complaints” they have received from people who say they did not have this coverage and that the plans and transmitters did not comply with the law, HHS and DOL officials said in a press call.

  • Last month, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sent a letter to health insurers and employer health plan organizations reminding them that they are obligated, in under federal law, to provide free coverage for birth control services.

State of play: Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, “lawmakers across the country are banning health care and creating unsafe and dangerous situations for women and their providers,” an HHS official said. “And in some states it looks like birth control will be targeted next.”

Details: The guidelines state that under the ACA, “people are entitled, with their commercial health insurance, to birth control coverage at no cost,” according to an HHS official.

  • Plans must cover the “full range” of birth control methods that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which include birth control pills, vaginal rings, IUDs, emergency contraception (such as Plan B) , diaphragms and sponges.
  • They are also required to offer education and counseling and sterilization procedures.

Enlarge: Some states restrict access to Plan B and other emergency contraceptive pills, including prohibiting the use of public funding for coverage, excluding them from contraceptive coverage mandates, and allowing certain health providers to do not distribute them for religious or moral reasons.

What they say : “Under the ACA, you have the right to free birth control — no matter what state you live in,” Becerra said.

  • “With abortion care under attack, it’s critical that we ensure birth control is accessible across the country, and that employers and insurers follow the law and provide coverage at no additional cost,” he said. he added.
  • “Today’s guidance makes clear that the law requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to provide contraceptive coverage — including emergency contraception — at no cost to participants,” Walsh said. .

The big picture: The Biden administration has taken steps to educate Americans about their reproductive health rights since the fall of Roe.

Between the lines: The Senate this week blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass a bill to create a federal right to birth control by unanimous consent.

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