Last updated on: 8/8/2013 9:02:00 AM PST
Does Obamacare Require Health Insurers to Cover Birth Control? - YES
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Section 2713, "Coverage of Preventative Health Services," pages 13-14, signed into law on Mar. 23, 2010, available at the Library of Congress website, states:
"(a) IN GENERAL.—A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall, at a minimum provide coverage for and shall not impose any cost sharing requirements for—
(1) evidence-based items or services that have in effect a rating of 'A' or 'B' in the current recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force;
(2) immunizations that have in effect a recommendation from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with respect to the individual involved; and
(3) with respect to infants, children, and adolescents, evidence-informed preventive care and screenings provided for in the comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration.
(4) with respect to women, such additional preventive care and screenings not described in paragraph (1) as provided for in comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration for purposes of this paragraph.
(5) for the purposes of this Act, and for the purposes of any other provision of law, the current recommendations of the United States Preventive Service Task Force regarding breast cancer screening, mammography, and prevention shall be considered the most current other than those issued in or around November 2009."
Mar. 23, 2010 - Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590) (2MB)
[Editor's Note: The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to develop a comprehensive list of preventative services for women to be covered under Section 2713, "Coverage of Preventative Health Services," of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (see General Reference 1 directly above).
The IOM released a report on July 19, 2011, "Recommendations for Preventative Services for Women that Should be Considered by HHS," that recommended well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, HPV testing, counseling for STDs and HIV, breastfeeding support, domestic/interpersonal abuse screening and counseling, and the "full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for women with reproductive capacity."
HHS approved the IOM recommendations on Aug. 1, 2011. In accordance with the PPACA, women will have access to birth control without an insurance co-payment, co-insurance, or deductible.]
The New York Times reported in its May 21, 2012 "Times Topics" webpage "Contraception and Insurance Coverage (Religious Exemption Debate)," available at its website:
"The 2010 health care law says insurers must cover 'preventive health services' and cannot charge for them and the new rule was issued to spell out the details of this mandate. It requires coverage of the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Among the drugs and devices that must be covered are emergency contraceptives including pills known as ella and Plan B. The rule also requires coverage of sterilization procedures for women without co-payments or deductibles.
The administration rejected a request from the Roman Catholic Church for a broad exemption for insurance provided to employees of Catholic hospitals, colleges and charities, although it said it would give such church-affiliated organizations one additional year — until Aug. 1, 2013 — to comply with the requirement. Most other employers and insurers must comply by Aug. 1, 2012."
[Editor's Note: Based upon a neutral reading of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and bi-partisan third party analysis, this question seems to have a clear and obvious Pro (yes) answer, and ProCon.org has therefore presented the responses in a single column with no opposing perspective.]