Obamacare Repeal or Not, New York Orders Insurers to Cover Birth Control and Abortions

by | January 23, 2017

By Annalise Knudson

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday a series of actions to secure reproductive health services in New York State.

Through regulatory action, the state will ensure contraceptive drugs, devices and abortion services are covered by commercial health insurance policies without co-pays, coinsurance or deductibles, regardless of the Affordable Care Act's future. It would also ensure that contraceptives are available in amounts exceeding one month's supply at a time.

"Women deserve to make a fair wage and the same salary as any man, they deserve to work in an office free of sexual harassment, they deserve comprehensive paid family leave, and they deserve control over their health and reproductive decisions," Cuomo said. "These regulatory actions will help ensure that whatever happens at the federal level, women in our state will have cost-free access to reproductive health care and we hope these actions serve as a model for equality across the nation."

The announcement comes on the same day as the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade and the Women's Marches in Washington D.C., New York, across the country and the world. It also comes as the next step in Cuomo's "New York's Promise to Women: Ever Upward" series of actions to support women's rights.

As part of the actions announced today by Cuomo, the Department of Financial Services will mandate that health insurers:

--Provide coverage for all contraceptive drugs and devices and cover at least one form of contraception in each of the FDA-approved contraceptive delivery methods without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles, regardless of the future of the Affordable Care Act.

--Provide coverage for the dispensing of an initial three-month supply of a contraceptive to an insured person. For subsequent dispensing of the same contraceptive prescribed by the same health care provider and covered under the same policy or renewal, an insurer must allow coverage for the dispensing of the entire prescribed contraceptive supply, up to 12 months, at the same time.

--Provide coverage for abortion services that are medically necessary without co-pays, coinsurance, or deductibles (unless the plan is a high deductible plan).

--Provide full and accurate information about coverage, enforced in a letter available here.

(c)2017 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.