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Minn. Lawmakers Introduce Bill To Protect Contraceptive Coverage Access

February 26, 2015 — Minnesota legislators have introduced a bill (HF 1165) that would require most employers in the state to include all FDA-approved contraceptives in their health insurance plans at no additional cost to employees, the AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

According to the AP/Star Tribune, the state House has previously rejected a similar bill. State Rep. Erin Murphy (D), one of the bill's authors, said she does not yet have support for the bill among House Republicans, who control the chamber (AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2/25).

Background

According to KARE, the measure is a response to the Supreme Court's 2014 decision in the case Burwell v. Hobby Lobby to allow closely held corporations to refuse to include contraceptive coverage in their employer-sponsored health plans if the businesses' owners have religious objections to contraception.

Following the ruling, at least seven Minnesota companies have won approval in federal court to refuse to include contraceptives after citing religious objection to including contraceptive coverage in their employee health plans, according to KARE (Croman, KARE, 2/24).

Bill Details

According to AP/Star Tribune, the bill would require most employers in the state to include contraceptives in their health plans if they offer prescription drug coverage (AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2/25).

Specifically, the bill would apply to eligible employers' commercial health plans, KARE reports. It would not apply to companies that self-insure under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (PL 93-406).

The bill also would not bar employers from opting not to offer contraceptive coverage under the Hobby Lobby ruling. However, according to Murphy, the bill would require such employers to disclose that information to prospective employees before they are hired. In addition, such employers would have to include the information on employees' first two pay stubs and in the employee handbook, and they would have to explain to employees how to apply for such coverage directly.

Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, as well as NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, supports the measure. A Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life spokesperson said the organization is neutral on contraceptives (KARE, 2/24).