Maryland Makes Birth Control, Plan B, and Vasectomies Free
Apple| | By Lauren Boudreau
With Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination and North Carolina passing its’ “bathroom bill,” nobody thought a contraceptive affordability bill would come into being, but sure enough, it has. Maryland just made history by passing the Contraceptive Equity Act, which provides for the most expansive contraceptive coverage in the country.
The bill was signed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and aims to make contraceptive care as commonplace as flu shots. The act eliminates most co-pays, nixes the need for a prescription, and requires coverage for up to six months of birth control at a time. But don’t think the guys are left out. The bill also cuts the cost for vasectomies by prohibiting out-of-pocket expenses. This legislation expands on the Affordable Care Act, which already made access to birth control more affordable for women, and makes Maryland the first state to require insurance coverage for over-the-counter birth control, such as the morning after pill. “Family planning is essential for women’s rights, and cost is a factor in family planning,” Del. Ariana B. Kelly, a Montgomery Democrat, said according to The Washington Post. “This legislation is going to help eliminate barriers and reduce costs for women and for men.” The act received bipartisan support in the General Assembly, with both Democratic and Republican party leaders in the Senate and House of Delegates supporting it. The Baltimore Sun reported that insurance companies weren’t happy they will have to pay more, but after Kelly “talked them through the legislative process,” they seemed to come around. Karen Nelson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Maryland said, “When so many states and so many pockets of the country are trying to take away reproductive health care and take away rights of women, Maryland is saying, ‘We are going to provide more health care coverage and more access to birth control.'” Hogan signed the act Tuesday and it will take effect January 1, 2018.
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