Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) reintroduced the Equity in Prescription Contraceptive Coverage Actan effort he launched in 1997 that would require HMOs, employee health benefit plans and other insurers to cover all FDA approved contraceptive drugs and devices. In a press release, Sen. Reid said, “Despite the progress we have made as a nation in expanding equality for all American’s, millions of women in our nation still face discrimination from insurers who will not cover the cost of prescription contraception. Only the enactment of this legislation will ensure that contraceptive coverage is readily available to all women regardless of their insurance provider.”
Reid’s bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) would also require insurers to cover outpatient contraceptive services and would prohibit insurers from imposing co-payments or deductibles for prescription contraceptives that were higher than for other covered services, products or prescriptions. Reid cited that the recently released men’s impotency drug Viagra is covered by many insurance companies, yet prescription contraceptives for women, which have been available for 30 years, are still not covered by many health care plans.