New Law on Coverage of Contraceptives for Fully Insured Plans in MA

On Nov. 20, 2017, Gov. Baker signed H4009 into law, creating Chapter 120. The new law, called An Act Relative to Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in our State (ACCESS), is aimed at protecting access to contraception coverage without copayments for women in Massachusetts. Specifically, the new law requires health insurance carriers to cover at least one form of each type of FDA-approved birth control. The law requires coverage of a 12-month supply of prescription contraception after a 3-month trial, emergency contraception and voluntary female sterilization procedures (but doesn’t require coverage of condoms).

While the ACA provides similar contraceptive coverage, President Trump recently issued an executive order that allows more employers to opt out of providing coverage for birth control by claiming religious or moral objections. The new MA law is meant to curb any erosion of the ACA’s contraceptive mandate via the executive order, and goes even further than the ACA requires. As an example, the MA law requires coverage of over-the-counter emergency contraception at pharmacies without a copayment, even without a prescription. It remains to be seen whether any party will challenge the MA law as conflicting with federal law or whether employers in MA will fight the mandate in court based on religious or moral objections (in reliance of the federal executive order).

There’s an exemption for insurance policies purchased by a church or a church-controlled organization. Self-insured plans are also exempt from the state law. The new law takes effect for plans and policies issued or renewed on or after May 20, 2018 (six months following the enactment of the law).

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