December 13, 2021

Wyden, Murray Urge Biden Administration to Protect Access to Birth Control

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said today that he and U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) are pushing federal officials to end barriers that patients face in getting their birth control covered by insurance without cost-sharing—obstacles that still persist despite the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraception coverage protections.

In a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Wyden and Murray pushed the Biden Administration to make clear to insurers their responsibility to provide birth control coverage without out of pocket costs for patients—and take enforcement action against those that do not comply.

“We are writing to express our concern about reports that insurers are imposing unlawful barriers to birth control coverage,” Wyden and Murray wrote. “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurers to cover birth control without cost sharing and provide coverage to the full range of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved and cleared contraception. However, we have heard alarming reports that insurers are flouting the ACA’s contraceptive coverage protections, threatening women’s health and economic security,”

“We therefore ask that you issue additional, comprehensive guidance regarding insurers’ responsibilities for contraceptive coverage and that you take swift enforcement action against insurers who fail to comply with those responsibilities,” the senators wrote. “Your robust enforcement of the ACA’s contraceptive coverage requirement is vital to the women who rely on its protection.”

Wyden and Murray have heard alarming reports from patients and providers that some insurers are requiring patients to show they have failed with as many as five different birth control options before the insurer will pay for the method of their choice. Everyone should be able to access the birth control that works best for them—without having to jump through hoops or face unnecessary burdens. In their letter, they made clear to the Administration that these reports raise serious concerns that insurers are flouting the ACA, and that swift action is needed to protect patients’ reproductive health and ensure they get the full protections of the law.

The full letter is here.