In November 2017, the Contraceptive ACCESS bill was signed into law. This landmark legislation strengthened Massachusetts law to ensure access to no-copay birth control while (1) improving access to the full range of contraceptive options and (2) removing existing barriers to care. The Contraceptive ACCESS law is even more important now, during the COVID-19 crisis, as we are all minimizing trips to places like pharmacies.
Here’s what you need to know about this law and what it means for the contraception options that are available to you:
1. You should not have to pay a copay, deductible, or any kind of cost sharing for your contraceptive method, whether it’s the pill, an IUD, the ring, or the implant. (Note: Insurers are allowed to require therapeutic equivalents, meaning the generic of a pill or one type of IUD, unless your health care provider demonstrates that you need a particular brand for medical reasons.)
2. If you are taking the pill, using the ring, or using the patch, your insurance should cover a 12-month supply dispensed AT ONCE. In other words, you should get 12 pill packs or 12 months’ worth of rings/patches in a single visit to the pharmacy.
To be eligible for these benefits, you must meet the following requirements:
- You’re on the birth control pill, patch, or ring.
- You have been on one specific brand of contraception for more than 3 months.
- You’re planning on continuing to use this form of birth control for at least the next 12 months.
- You have health insurance (including MassHealth, insurance acquired through the Massachusetts Health Connector, private insurance, or insurance through your employer)
- For those who receive health insurance through your employer: your employer does not self-insure. Your Human Resources department will know if your employer self-insures.
- If your employer self-insures, that means they take on the risk, cost and underwriting of health insurance to their employees. When self-insuring, an employer pays each time an employee makes a claim instead of paying a premium to an insurer. It is common for employers with hundreds of employees to self-insure.
Are you having trouble accessing this benefit? If so, please let us know by filling out this form!
3. Your insurance is required to cover emergency contraception bought over the counter. Call your local pharmacy beforehand to make sure they are able to process insurance coverage for over the counter emergency contraception. Please email email@example.com if you have any problem accessing this benefit.