Signature Legislation: Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act
What is the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act?
The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA) is legislation aimed at protecting and enhancing New Yorkers’ access to cost-free contraception under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Access to contraceptive services is essential to women’s health and equality. New York has long recognized the central role that contraception plays in women’s health and lives and has led efforts to expand access to contraception. The CCCA would build upon current protections, and would codify the ACA’s requirement that all New York residents are able to access the contraception they need cost-free.
It would require state-governed health insurance policies to cover all Food and Drug Administration-approved methods of birth control, including emergency contraception.
It would also prohibit a health insurance policy from imposing any restriction or delays with respect to this coverage and will cover men’s contraceptive methods, bringing their insurance coverage in line with the benefits enjoyed by women. Finally, the bill would allow for the provision of a year’s worth of a contraceptive at a time, which is not included in the provisions of the ACA.
In 2002, the New York State Legislature passed the Women’s Health and Wellness Act, an important first step toward contraceptive equity that required insurance plans that cover prescriptions to include contraception. Eight years later, the U.S. Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which includes a contraceptive coverage guarantee as part of a broader requirement for health insurance plans to cover key preventive care services without out-of-pocket costs for patients.* That policy is one of the landmark achievements of the ACA, but a lack of clarity in the federal law has led to inconsistent implementation and enforcement. Insurers have taken advantage of this confusion to limit coverage for the diverse array of contraceptive methods available and, in some cases, can prevent individuals from accessing the method deemed most effective by their medical provider. Additionally, many insurance companies do not typically cover male methods of contraception or require high cost-sharing despite the critical role men play in the prevention of unintended pregnancy. This law would close existing loopholes to ensure all families have access to affordable contraceptive coverage.
What This Bill Does
Building on existing state and federal law to promote gender equity and women’s health, the CCCA would ensure broad contraceptive coverage and timely access to all federal FDA-methods of contraception for individuals covered under health insurance plans in New York. The bill would:
- Guarantee coverage without cost sharing for a comprehensive range of contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception.
- End medical management techniques permitted under current law, which can impede access to the most effective contraceptive methods.
- Allow individuals on both private and public insurance to obtain up to a year’s worth of contraception at one time, improving chances of consistent use and decreasing the likelihood of unintended pregnancy.
- Cover men’s contraceptive choices, including sterilization, and bring their insurance coverage in line with the benefits enjoyed by women.
- Ensure coverage for education and counseling, so that patients may make informed decisions about their family planning and birth control options.
- Amend the Public Health law to expand the list of programs that the New York State Department of Health may conduct education and outreach for to include “emergency contraception, including information about its safety, efficacy, appropriate use and availability.”
- Preserve existing conscience protections for religious employers.
* Sonfield, Adam. “Implementing the Federal Contraceptive Coverage Guarantee: Progress and Prospects.” Guttmacher Institute. Fall 2013. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/16/4/gpr160408.html