Healthcare leaders meet to ensure contraception access is available

June 28, 2022

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh met with leaders from health insurers and employee benefit plans to call on the insurance industry to commit to meeting their obligations to provide access to contraception as required by the law.

On Aug. 1, 2011, the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury issued amended regulations requiring coverage of women’s preventive services, as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After more than a decade of this law, the departments continue to receive complaints about barriers to access to contraceptives under the ACA.

“The Affordable Care Act mandates that recommended preventive services, including contraception, be covered with no cost sharing,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “However, we continue to hear troubling reports of noncompliance. The departments are looking into these complaints and will be actively working to ensure that women are receiving the contraception that they are entitled to.”

At the meeting, Secretary Becerra addressed his concerns with the representatives from health insurers and employee benefit plans.

“Women’s ability to control their reproductive healthcare including abortion and birth control coverage are under threat, and it is more important than ever to ensure individuals have access to contraceptive coverage without cost sharing, as afforded by the Affordable Care Act,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra. “The departments are fully committed to enforcing the ACA’s requirement to cover contraceptive coverage with no out-of-pocket costs. Any violation of this requirement will not be tolerated. We are calling on your organizations to remove barriers and ensure individuals in your plans have access to the contraceptive coverage they need, as required by law.”

Secretaries Walsh and Becerra joined Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen in issuing a letter to group health plans and health insurance issuers reminding them of their obligations under the ACA to provide coverage for contraceptive services at no cost. Their letter discusses the general contraceptive coverage requirements and reported instances of potential non-compliance, and warns that enforcement actions may be taken if non-compliance continues. 

The industry meeting was attended in-person and virtually by representatives from the following organizations: America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Association for Community Affiliated Health Plans (ACAP), Centene, Humana, Business Group on Health, CVS Health, ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC), HR Policy Association, AFL-CIO, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans (NCCMP), Express Scripts, Optum, United Health Group, Kaiser Permanente, and the Alliance of Community Health Plans.

HHS release