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Class-Action Suit Filed to Mandate Contraceptive Coverage

Planned Parenthood has filed a class-action lawsuit against the oldest family-owned drug store chain in the nation charging that the company’s insurance plan that excludes coverage for contraceptives illegally discriminates against women. This case, brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, is not the first effort by women’s groups to demand insurance coverage for contraceptives. In this country, less than half of all traditional insurance plans cover any of the five prescription contraceptives and only a third cover the cost of birth control pills. Chris Charbonneau, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Western Washington pointed out that, “Policies that don’t include contraceptives force women to pay 68 percent more out of pocket than men for health care.” Only thirteen states have passed laws requiring private insurance plans that pay for prescription drugs to also include contraceptive coverage but a federal initiative to do the same, called The Equity in Prescription Contraceptive Coverage Act, has been stalled in Congress since 1997.

Sources:

NY Times - 20 July 2000 and Nando Times - 20 July 2000

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