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New FAQs Address Issues Related to Contraceptive Coverage under Group Health Plans

The federal Treasury, DOL, and HHS (collectively, the “Agencies”) jointly issued a new set of FAQs to address various issues regarding the requirement for most employer-provided and other applicable group health plans to cover contraceptives without cost-sharing under the preventive care mandate of the Affordable Care Act (the “Contraceptive Coverage Mandate”). In particular, the FAQs are intended to (i) respond to reports that individuals continue to experience difficulty accessing contraceptive coverage without cost sharing; (ii) clarify application of the Contraceptive Coverage Mandate to fertility awareness-based methods and emergency contraceptives; and (iii) address the preemption of state law by the Contraceptive Coverage Mandate. 

Specific issues addressed in the FAQs include the following: 

  • The requirement for plans to cover items and services that are integral to the furnishing of a recommended preventive service, such as anesthesia necessary for a tubal ligation procedure;
  • The requirement for a plan to cover, without cost-sharing, FDA-approved emergency contraception (levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate), including products sold over-the-counter, when prescribed by a provider;
  • Circumstances under which plans may use reasonable medical management techniques for the determination and application of coverage for contraceptive products or services; and
  • The preemption of state laws that prevent the application of the Contraceptive Coverage Mandate.

The FAQs are available here. The Agencies’ news release regarding the FAQs is available here.

The lawyers of our Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group are readily able to assist companies on a nationwide basis with implementing sophisticated benefit plans and providing answers to their most challenging compensation issues. Additionally, our lawyers are well aware of the daily employee benefits challenges facing companies of all sizes and are capable of helping in-house lawyers and human resources personnel with the day-to-day advice and guidance necessary to properly administer employee benefits plans.

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