March 12, 2012 — Minnesota Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL) last week introduced a bill (HF 2737) that would apply the new federal contraceptive coverage rules to certain employer-sponsored health plans that otherwise would not have to comply, the St. Cloud Times reports.
The rules, part of a provision in the federal health reform law (PL 111-148), require most employers to cover contraceptive services without cost-sharing in their health plans. Murphy's bill would extend the rules to plans with "grandfathered" status -- those that were created before the law was enacted and are exempt from its requirements. Nationwide, about 56% of insured workers were enrolled in grandfathered plans in 2011, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (St. Cloud Times, 3/7).
Murphy said the bill would help women, who might pay about $1,200 a year for contraceptives and related doctor visits without coverage. She noted that the bill includes an exemption for religiously affiliated employers.
"Covering contraception without cost-sharing smartly confronts cost as a barrier for Minnesota women accessing effective health care," Murphy said (Peterson, Austin Daily Herald, 3/8).
Opponents to the bill said that lawmakers should not impose more mandates on employers (St. Cloud Times, 3/7).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.