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Judge Refuses to Dismiss Contraceptive Coverage Suit

A federal district judge has refused to drop a lawsuit filed against DaimlerChrysler for discriminating against women by not covering prescription contraceptives in its health plan. One month after four women sued DaimlerChrysler, the company began offering the drug in its benefit package. District Judge Richard Webber refused to dismiss the case, and DaimlerChrysler now may have to pay women back for the past discrimination, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Though Judge Webber has not yet ruled on class-action status for the case, the lawsuit has the potential to involve more than 16,000 women and cost millions of dollars for the auto company, according to Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has established as its position on the issue that health plans that exclude contraception illegally discriminate against women based on their gender, according to the Post-Dispatch.

In the current case before Judge Webber, one of the plaintiffs, Diana Cooley, was prescribed DepoProvera after she was diagnosed with uterine bleeding but DaimlerChrysler did not cover the drug, the Post-Dispatch reports. “I am not aware of any male-only medical conditions excluded from DaimlerChrysler’s benefits plans,” she told the Post-Dispatch.

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Sources:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch 8/11/03; Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 8/13/03