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Calif. Bill Aims To Protect Contraceptive Coverage

August 7, 2014 — A California Assembly committee is considering a bill (SB 1053) that would require health plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, Capital Public Radio reports.

The state Senate has approved the bill, which is awaiting review by the Assembly Appropriations Committee (Pringle, Capital Public Radio, 8/5).

Bill Details

The bill, authored by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D), would bolster existing contraceptive coverage requirements under state law and the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148). Under the measure, health plans would have to cover vasectomies and other male contraceptive methods without copayments or deductibles. The ACA's contraceptive coverage rules include a similar requirement for female contraceptives. It aims to ensure coverage without out-of-pocket costs for a full range of methods (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/8).

Debate

Beth Parker of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California said the bill would prevent the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling, which allowed some employers to deny birth control coverage on the basis of their owners' religious beliefs, from negatively affecting contraceptive coverage in California.

Meanwhile, Nicole Evans of the California Association of Health Plans said the bill could limit employers' ability to keep health insurance premiums from rising (Capital Public Radio, 8/5).