March 12, 2012 — Minnesota Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL) last week introduced a bill (HF 2737) that would apply the new federal contraceptive coverage rules to certain employer-sponsored health plans that otherwise would not have to comply, the St. Cloud Times reports.
The rules, part of a provision in the federal health reform law (PL 111-148), require most employers to cover contraceptive services without cost-sharing in their health plans. Murphy's bill would extend the rules to plans with "grandfathered" status -- those that were created before the law was enacted and are exempt from its requirements. Nationwide, about 56% of insured workers were enrolled in grandfathered plans in 2011, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (St. Cloud Times, 3/7).
Murphy said the bill would help women, who might pay about $1,200 a year for contraceptives and related doctor visits without coverage. She noted that the bill includes an exemption for religiously affiliated employers.
"Covering contraception without cost-sharing smartly confronts cost as a barrier for Minnesota women accessing effective health care," Murphy said (Peterson, Austin Daily Herald, 3/8).
Opponents to the bill said that lawmakers should not impose more mandates on employers (St. Cloud Times, 3/7).