Massachusetts Passes Bill Protecting Insurance Coverage for Contraception from Federal Assaults

November 20, 2017
Contact: Stephanie Reichin
E: [email protected]
C: 617.549.3745

Legislators, Governor, advocates, and insurers take decisive action against President Trump’s rollback of the ACA’s contraceptive requirement

New York, NY – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today signed into law a bill that will ensure insurance coverage and affordable access to contraception. This action protects Massachusetts residents from President Trump’s rollback of the Affordable Care Act’s birth control coverage requirement.

The bill, An Act Relative to Advancing Contraception Coverage and Economic Security in Our State (ACCESS), guarantees insurance coverage for all 18 types of FDA-approved contraceptives with no co-pay, provides coverage for a 12-month supply of oral contraceptives with one prescription, covers over-the-counter emergency contraception without a co-pay, and eliminates “step therapy” across contraceptive categories.

“The ACCESS bill is a significant win for the people of Massachusetts and the result of bi-partisan cooperation by elected officials, advocates, and insurers, all of whom came together to stand up to the Trump administration’s attacks on access to reproductive health care,” said Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health. “Massachusetts charted the course for health care reform in 2006, and I was proud to play a part in creating no-copay for contraceptive coverage as the state reform was implemented as a precursor to the Affordable Care Act. Now Massachusetts is again leading the way by protecting and even expanding upon the advances of the ACA, and I salute the legislature, Governor, advocacy organizations, and insurers for exemplifying how states can serve as a critical counterweight to a federal government seemingly obsessed with taking away women’s ability to control their reproductive lives and chart their and their families’ futures.”

The ACCESS bill passed with support from major statewide insurers including the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans and Blue Cross Blue Shield. NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts led the advocacy fight to pass this bill, with support from the National Institute for Reproductive Health.

“While the Trump Administration and an anti-choice Congress continue to work to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its guarantee of copay free contraception, the Massachusetts legislature and Governor have taken a firm stand in favor of women’s reproductive freedom by passing the ACCESS bill. On October 6th, the Trump administration gutted the contraceptive coverage mandate. Massachusetts becomes the first state in the nation to directly respond to this federal attack by immediately by codifying the ACA’s contraceptive coverage protections into state law and expanding on those protections. Now, Massachusetts law ensures that most Bay Staters can access the form of contraception that works best for them regardless of federal attacks on the ACA. Our work does not end here. We will continue to fight to ensure that women in Massachusetts can control all aspects of their reproduction, including the right to abortion care and the right to bear and care for healthy children,” said Rebecca Hart Holder, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

Since President Trump was inaugurated in January, women have witnessed the continued pursuit to dismantle access to affordable health care. Last month, the Trump administration established new rules allowing virtually any employer, corporation, or university to deny birth control coverage to their employees under the guise of any undefined religious or moral objection.

Massachusetts is the first state to act since this rollback to adopt legislation to protect affordable access to contraception; six other states have enacted similar measures in the last several years to secure and/or expand up the ACA’s contraceptive benefits including California in 2014; Illinois, Maryland, Vermont in 2016; and Maine and Nevada this year. In addition to these states, five other states—Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington—and the District of Columbia enacted standalone bills to provide coverage for 12 month supply of contraceptives.

Signaling the common sense and widespread opposition to the Trump administration, Massachusetts’ ACCESS bill is the second state-led reproductive health bill that will advance with support from a Republican Governor. In September, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 40 into law, lifting the ban on insurance coverage for abortion for women enrolled in Medicaid or state employee health insurance. There, too, the National Institute for Reproductive Health provided support to the successful advocacy campaign.

About the National Institute for Reproductive Health

The National Institute for Reproductive Health builds power at the state and local level to change public policy, galvanize public support, and normalize women’s decisions about abortion and contraception.

Using a strategic partnership model, we provide state and local advocates with strategic guidance, hands-on support, and funding to create national change from the ground up. Since 2008, NIRH has provided direct grants and hands-on support to more than 145 reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations in 37 states and 50 localities across the country.

At the national level, we engage in groundbreaking public opinion research, proactive policy initiatives, and innovative advocacy campaigns to shape a new national conversation about reproductive freedom.