The Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act
The contraceptive coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was meant to make it possible for women to access contraception without co-pays. In line with guidance concerning this provision, recently released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), this bill, known as the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act (CCCA), requires insurers to cover at least one method of contraception from each of the 18 distinct categories, as designated by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with no co-pay. Due to the existence of oral contraceptives with differing therapeutic and pharmaceutical makeups, insurers may be required to cover more than one method from one or two of the 18 categories.
Beyond simply ensuring that insurers are covering the full range of contraceptives defined by HHS, the CCCA would also require insurers to: cover contraceptives prescribed to men, as well as male sterilization, with no cost sharing; allow patients to access emergency contraception (EC) at a pharmacy with a non-patient specific prescription and have it covered; and provide coverage for the dispensing of 12 months of contraceptives at one time.
Making Pregnancy a Qualifying Event – awaits the Governor’s signature
Currently, under the Affordable Care Act, there are certain “qualifying events” that allow people to enroll in coverage outside of the open enrollment period. Noticeably missing from these events is pregnancy. Despite the fact that a parent can apply for enrollment after the birth of a child, current law does not allow uninsured women who become pregnant to enroll in commercial health care unless they apply during the open enrollment period. This policy contradicts the clear benefits of early access to prenatal care, and the positive impacts it has for maternal and child health. This bill would create pregnancy as a qualifying event, making it possible for uninsured pregnant women to gain coverage and more easily access the prenatal care necessary for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Studies show that infants born to mothers who had little or no prenatal care in the first trimester have a low birth weight rate that is three times higher than that of infants born to mothers who received the recommended prenatal care, and have a rate of infant mortality that is five times higher.These are statistics that must not be ignored – it is vital that pregnant women are able to access the prenatal care they need to keep themselves healthy and to give birth to a healthy child.
Fully Fund the New York State Family Planning Grant
New York State family planning services ensure physically healthy and economically stable communities statewide. Without the Family Planning Grant, New Yorkers would lose critical health care services.
Family planning providers, including Planned Parenthood, fulfill New York State’s Prevention Agenda by connecting more women and families with preventative health care and reducing unintended and adolescent pregnancy. Located statewide in rural, suburban and urban regions, these providers serve hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers yearly. Funded by the state’s family planning grant, these services provide a great return on investment. In 2010, more than $605 million in public funds was preserved by helping women avoid unintended pregnancies.
Family planning providers offer a range of critically needed care including well-woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screening, contraception, pregnancy testing, prenatal and postpartum care, treatment and counseling for sexually transmitted infections, health education and HIV testing and prevention counseling.
Family planning providers are pivotal in connecting underserved New Yorkers with health care. According to the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, six in 10 women who obtain care at a family planning center consider it their usual source of medical care, and four in 10 say that is their only source of care.
Research shows that comprehensive, medically accurate, sex education helps to delay the onset of intercourse, reduce the frequency of intercourse, and increase condom and contraception use, and decrease the number of sexual partners of program participants.
FPA believes comprehensive, medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education should be available statewide to youth in grades K-12 in schools so that they may access information and develop skills necessary to make healthy and responsible choices.
While NYS mandates health education for all students, which must include information on HIV/AIDs, there is no requirement for sex education. Therefore, whether or not a young person received sex education (and what that information contains) varies across the state.
The absence of comprehensive sexual education leaves youths vulnerable to misinformation, sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), and unintended pregnancy, all of which can lead to long-lasting negative consequences.
Leading professional medical organizations that support comprehensive sexual education include: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association and the Society of Adolescent Medicine.
Paid Family Leave Insurance Act
Under current state law, workers in New York State have no legal right to paid leave in the event that they need to provide for a new, or newly adopted, child, or an ill family member. Unfortunately, most employers do not provide this benefit voluntarily. Low- Income workers are disproportionately impacted by this burden.
In fact, the highest 10% of wage earners are six times more likely to have paid family leave than the lowest 10% of wage earners. Without the ability to access paid family leave, workers may be forced to take unpaid leave or temporarily depart the workforce to provide care. This can leave workers in the untenable position of having to choose between the care of a family member and the economic well being of their family. Paid family leave has been shown to allow parents to recover from childbirth, bond with new children, and better meet the health needs of their families. Paid leave also allows workers to support the health needs of elderly family members. Family Planning Advocates supports legislation to promote economic empowerment and strengthen the health and well being of New York families.
The “Boss Bill”
Following the United States Supreme Court’s unfortunate decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case, it has become exceedingly clear that we must work harder than ever to ensure that an employer’s personal beliefs don’t trump a worker’s access to reproductive health care.
The Boss Bill would protect an employee from retaliation based on the reproductive health care they choose to access, regardless of their boss’s personal feelings on the matter. If a worker is denied coverage for certain drugs, products, or procedures, they must be able to access that health care on their own without fear of retaliation.
This legislation is necessary to protect the rights of workers in New York and their ability to access the health care they need. New York has demonstrated its commitment to protecting employees from workplace discrimination in the past, and it is now time to ensure that reproductive health matters are covered within these protections.
Minor’s access to Preventive Care
Currently, New York law has a provision that allows teens to consent to testing for and treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but the law contains no provision that allows teens to consent to care to prevent an STI. This bill would allow minors to consent to preventative care for STIs, such as administration of a vaccine used to prevent the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
Allowing teens to consent to preventive care is a practical step towards reducing the rates of STIs and will positively impact the health of New Yorkers in the long run. HPV and Hepatitis B (HBV) are two STIs that are largely prevented through FDA-approved immunizations. These immunizations are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as safe and effective methods of curtailing the rates of these infections and the potentially life-threatening illnesses associated with them.