Developing Policies and Regulations to Improve Access to ContraceptionChristie Petrone
The National Institute looks for policy and regulatory remedies to the barriers to contraception access. By working with administrative agencies, drafting legislation, and working in coalition with advocates and policymakers, we are improving access to contraception.
The National Institute is working, both independently and in partnership, with state and local administrative agencies to expand access to contraception and ensure that women with insurance can confidentially access the full benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In New York, our support for Raising Women’s Voices’ research on abortion and contraception coverage revealed that many plans offered on the New York State of Health marketplace are not fully complying with the ACA’s contraceptive coverage requirements. This led to the creation of a sign-on letter to the New York State of Health and the Department of Financial Services requesting remedies for the issues identified, as well as continued collaboration with those agencies.
Working with partners and through a coalition, the National Institute is addressing confidentiality issues raised as the ACA is implemented. With more people than ever before accessing insurance coverage, standard insurance company policies, such as Explanation of Benefits letters (EOBs) have greater potential to expose confidential information about reproductive health care—for example, by letting a policyholder know that one of their dependents accessed sensitive services such as contraceptive care. The National Institute is supporting its partners in conducting research and administrative and legislative advocacy to address these concerns.
The National Institute partnered this year with the Section of Family Planning and Contraceptive Research at the University of Chicago and EverThrive to conduct a review of contraception and abortion coverage among the qualified health plans offered on the Illinois health insurance marketplace. They found significant barriers to care, including difficulty accessing correct information, limits on access to certain contraceptive methods, and failure to comply fully with ACA requirements.
We have worked to advance the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA) in New York. This groundbreaking bill would fulfill a central promise of the ACA by requiring 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 related to this coverage and will cover men’s contraceptive methods. Finally, the bill would go further than the ACA, allowing patients to obtain a year’s worth of a contraceptive at a time.
The National Institute has been a member of the IUD Taskforce of New York City—which seeks to address the systemic barriers that may limit awareness, access, and use of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, specifically IUDs and implants—since the Taskforce’s founding in 2013.In partnership with other Taskforce members, the National Institute led efforts to create a white paper that simplifies the landscape of Medicaid coverage and family planning for advocates and providers.