Birth Control Access, Commentary

“Hardly an Excuse.”

Women-denied

That’s what the Seattle Times had to say about the insurance industry’s response to a report released last week by NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and Northwest Health Law Advocates (NoHLA), which found that all eight of the insurance companies providing health care under the Affordable Care Act in Washington provided misleading or false information about benefits to women seeking birth control.  Under the federal Affordable Care Act, insurers must provide all forms of prescribed birth control to women at no cost.

The Times interviewed Premera, one of the eight insurers contacted by our “secret shoppers,” and were told that the insurance company never actually denied women birth control, they merely told women that their birth control wasn’t covered.

The Times editorial continues:

The Seattle Times reported Friday that Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler met in March with insurance companies to review the survey’s findings. In that same news story, a Premera Blue Cross representative noted the survey was based on call inquiries, not the final benefits the callers received. Hardly an excuse.

Callers who are given wrong information about coverage might make an economic decision that is not in their best interest.

The carriers agreed to revamp their customer-service training and will meet with Kreidler again in October. Six months? That’s too long to wait on an issue as sensitive as birth control. Any barriers to access — including cost and bad information — can lead to inconsistent use and unintended pregnancies.

We expect consumers to take responsibility for their own health decisions. They deserve to get correct information from the start.

The full report is available here.

If your insurance company has told you they don’t cover your form of birth control at no cost to you, contact  NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and tell us your story.

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