Even if President Donald Trump were to further roll back mandatory birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Massachusetts is on its way to providing free access to contraceptives to women across the state.
On Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law a requirement for health insurance in the state to cover most birth control drugs, devices, and products, without a copay.
“This legislation will ensure no woman in Massachusetts, irrespective of what goes on in Washington, will worry about whether her health care services and rights will be affected here in the commonwealth,” Baker said at the bill’s signing.
According to the Boston Globe, the law covers a 12-month supply of prescription contraception after a three-month trial, emergency over-the-counter contraception, and voluntary female sterilization procedures. The law does not cover condoms, and does include an exemption for insurance policies of churches or church-controlled groups.
Politico executive editor Joanne Kenen tweeted that with the law, Massachusetts has become the first state to require birth control coverage without a copay. Similar, more comprehensive legislation has been passed in Oregon and will go into effect in 2019. According to HealthInsurance.org, Maryland and Vermont also passed similar legislation in 2016, and Nevada and New York passed state-regulated health insurance plans this year.
An analysis by Massachusetts’ Center for Health Information and Analysis concluded that the law would likely increase premiums by about four-one-hundredths of one percent over the next five years, and cost the health care system between $1.9 million and $5.7 million annually.
Despite the legislation’s success as a direct response to Trump expanding birth control exemptions under the ACA, the law does come with a few stipulations of its own that prevent all Massachusetts women from being covered.
Nearly all state residents are covered by health insurance, but the law only applies to traditional health insurance offered by employers who pay a premium to an insurance carriers; the Group Insurance Commission that ensures state employees and their families; and Medicaid program MassHealth. However, the law doesn’t cover self-insured employers, typically-larger companies that take the financial responsibility of providing health care to their employees.
According to Masslive.com, insurers have six months to create contracts that comply with the mandate. The Globe reports that Baker, a Republican who is for abortion access and passed a law allowing the use of restrooms and locker rooms by gender identity, is expected to run for re-election in 2018.