BOSTON – Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) announced that the Senate voted unanimously to enact legislation that protects access to contraceptives and helps provide quality, equitable healthcare in Massachusetts. The final bill reflects a collaborative approach between legislators, the Coalition for Choice, and a group of health insurance carriers.
Filed earlier this year, the legislation was viewed as a safeguard and a worst-case-scenario means to shield Massachusetts women from regressive healthcare-policy rollbacks at the Federal level. The legislation simultaneously expands upon a 2006 Massachusetts contraceptive-coverage mandate, and upon co-pay free contraceptive coverage provisions enacted under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“This vote was another important step forward for women’s health initiatives in our Commonwealth,” said Senator Moore. “As a legislator, and as a father, I was proud to cast my vote in support of this legislation. The benefits of contraceptive care are immense and well documented. It is my sincere hope that the Governor will sign this bill into law.”
A sense of urgency to pass the bill was renewed with Congress’ summertime attempts to repeal the ACA, and was further bolstered by the Trump Administration’s contraceptive-coverage rollback in early October. If signed into law, the bill would allow health plans six months to comply with the new protections.
The bill also ensures that various contraceptive options, including intrauterine devices, be covered co-pay free. It also allows women to purchase full-year supplies of their medication in just one pharmacy visit. A mandatory benefit review conducted by the Massachusetts Center for Health Information Analysis (CHIA) estimated meager premium hikes as a result of the expanded mandate. Individuals might see increases in the range of $.07 – $.20 on their monthly premiums over five years.
However, according to a 2017 Health Policy Commission report and a 2012 federal Health and Human Services publication, the cost of co-pay free contraception is mitigated by cost savings derived from preventing unintended pregnancies. The same report defines the cost of co-pay free contraception as “close to zero.”
The bill now moves to the Governor’s desk for approval. To continue tracking the bill, S.2204, please visit the Legislature’s website, www.malegislature.gov.