MI: Contraceptives Must Be Included in Small Business Prescription Coverage

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission ruled on Monday that businesses smaller than 15 employees must provide coverage for contraceptives if their health insurance plan is comprehensive. The Commission ruled that refusing to cover contraceptives is discriminatory towards women when other prescription drugs are covered by the same plan. Sixty percent of employers in Michigan have fewer than 15 employees, according to the Detroit News.

The ruling allows female employees to file sexual discrimination claims for noncompliance with the ruling. The Commission found religious affiliation the only acceptable reason for noncompliance, though rigorous standards must be met in order to qualify for the exception, including only serving and employing people who “share the religious tenets of the entity,” according to the ruling. Twenty-four states currently have prescription equity laws, a majority of which also include a religious exception.

“Prescription contraception equity is a simple matter of fairness,” said Mark Bernstein, chairman of the Commission, according to Detroit News. “Only women are affected when an employer fails to include [contraceptives] in their drug plan.”


Detroit News 8/22/06; Michigan Civil Rights Commission Declaratory Ruling on Contraceptive Equity 8/21/06; Daily WomenÕs Health Policy Report 8/24/06

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