Lawmakers push to secure birth control coverage in Massachusetts

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BOSTON (WWLP)-Lawmakers are pushing to approve a proposal that would ensure access to contraceptive coverage in Massachusetts with uncertainty over federal health coverage.

Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, you can get access to no-copay birth control. 55 million women in the U.S. have gained access to no-copay preventative care since the ACA’s implementation; 1.4 million of those women are from Massachusetts.

“It allows women to better care for themselves and their families, complete school and education and achieve economic security,” Attorney General Maura Healey (D-Massachusetts) said.

But lawmakers and reproductive rights advocates are concerned for the future of contraception coverage on the federal level.

Bill would protect free birth control in Massachusetts

State Representative John Scibak (D-South Hadley) filed a bill that would ensure coverage without copay for all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and products.

“Should the affordable care act be repealed, there’s a question as to whether that would be repealed,” Scibak said. “For individuals, the cost should not be a situation that results in a lack of birth control and unintended pregnancies and a whole series of other issues.”

The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans says the original bill is too broad and could increase premiums for employers and consumers. They’ve worked with advocates to compromise on a redraft of the bill they’ve submitted to the committee.

“The advocates are very interested in women receiving a 12 month supply of contraceptives and we’ve agreed to that if they’ve successfully completed three months on a particular drug,” Lora Pellegrini, President and CEO of Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, said.

The bill is currently under committee review and still has a long way to go in the process.

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