U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, in a letter co-signed by 38 fellow senators, urged Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to provide greater clarity and enforcement of birth-control coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Amid reports that insurers aren’t providing women accurate information about birth- control coverage under the Affordable Care Act, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray on Tuesday urged federal officials to take a stronger stance to ensure compliance with the law.
In a letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, Murray called for the administration to provide “greater clarity” on the ACA requirement that insurers cover all contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration at no cost.
The letter, co-signed by 38 U.S. Senate Democrats, also calls for increased consumer education and awareness efforts and asks that the administration “proactively encourage states to properly enforce compliance.”
The letter follows reports by the national Women’s Law Center, Kaiser Family Foundation and Washington state that all found that insurers have been providing inaccurate information to women seeking birth-control coverage and services.
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In Washington, a report by the Northwest Health Law Advocates and NARAL Pro-Choice also found that all eight carriers included on the Washington state Health Benefit Exchange did not meet the requirements of the law. Instead, customer-service representatives for all eight carriers did not know the provisions of the law or provided wrong information about coverage of certain types and brands of birth control, or about required co-payments.
Insurers in Washington state met with Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and agreed to improve the information provided by customer-service representatives and in company formularies, which describe drug and device coverage.
“These reports document a troubling national trend,” Murray wrote. “Research shows that costs can significantly restrict women’s ability to get the right care.”
Murray asked that Burwell provide a written update on actions to ensure that insurers comply with the contraceptive mandate included in the ACA.