Making Sure Insurers Cover Birth Control


The state of Washington has fined the insurance company Regence for not complying with a state law that requires coverage of contraception. The company had covered insertion of IUDs, but not removal. Sorry, ladies, you should have thought of that before you tried to prevent God’s will!

In all seriousness, it was probably cheapness and not morality that motivated them. According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “When the women wanted to remove the device because it was outdated, or because they wanted to get pregnant, the insurance giant did not consider those reasons as ‘medically necessary’ state officials said Monday.” The company was ordered to pay the women a total of $148,000, plus eight percent interest, and fined $100,000.

This is entirely a product of state regulation; according to Guttmacher, “28 states require insurers that cover prescription drugs in general to provide coverage of the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices.” But twenty of those states also have religious exemptions, either for the insurer to offer or for the employer to decline. Luckily, if you live in one of the states that lets insurers do whatever the hell they want, the preventative care provisions that go into effect next year for new insurance plans don’t just eliminate co-pays — they require coverage of contraceptive devices.

Regence Fined 100k For Denying Women Coverage [Seattle PI]
State Policies: Insurance Coverage Of Contraception [Guttmacher]

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