Calif. Gov. Signs Bills To Address Contraceptive Coverage Gaps

September 26, 2014 — California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Thursday signed a bill (SB 1053) into law that requires health plans in the state to cover contraceptive methods and services without out-of-pocket costs, delays or other restrictions, the Los Angeles Times reports (McGreevy/Mason, Los Angeles Times, 9/25).

The legislation, authored by state Sen. Holly Mitchell (D), applies to all FDA-approved contraceptives and aims to bolster existing contraceptive coverage requirements under state law and the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148). Under the new measure, health plans will 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 (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/7). The legislation also requires health plans to cover counseling and follow-up services related to contraception and sterilization procedures.

Mitchell said the legislation addresses coverage gaps under federal rules that allow insurers to limit coverage to "reasonable medical management techniques."

She added, "When a healthcare professional advises a woman of the optimal treatment for her medical or family planning needs, no health plan should stand between her and that treatment, nor make it harder for her to get" (Los Angeles Times, 9/25).