New Maryland Law Widens Access to Birth Control

law bookHere is another new Maryland law that took effect January 1 but sort of flew under the radar. It may not have been super newsworthy, but it will have a large effect on many people. It is also sort of a hot button political issue right now. Here is what you need to know.

Maryland’s new law widens the availability of birth control. It makes contraceptives available to you without any copays or out of pocket charges from your health insurer. You do have to have health insurance for it to apply to you, but if you do, then you won’t pay copays for most contraceptives.

Under the law, Insurers must provide most common birth control to patients without any out of pocket costs. This law covers birth control pills, plan B pills (known as the “morning after pill”), IUD’s, implants, and even vasectomies for men.

The new law also mandates a six month supply of birth control pills for women. Previously, they could be forced to get a refill every 30 days. The law also does away with the need for pre-authorization for things like implants and IUD’s.

This law was actually passed back in 2016, but just became effective this year. It was passed in response to perceived gaps in the coverage related to birth control under the Federal Affordable Care Act. The law only covers plans issued by health insurers in Maryland, and your plan may not be covered if it was issued in another state. That may affect military members or others who have moved here recently.

There is one aspect of the law that is under review. Apparently there is some worry that covering vasectomies may void health savings accounts. That sounds funny on its face, but it is one of those very technical conflicts that may arise when different laws try to cover the same thing and one doesn’t fully correspond with the other.

As you may imagine, there is a lot of politics attached to this new Maryland law. The Affordable Care Act and all laws governing health insurance companies are in hot dispute right now – both federally and in the state legislature.

We try to stay politically neutral in our blog, but we always want to advise you of the new laws that affect you. If you want to read all about the political back and forth over this law, you can read about in this article from the Baltimore Sun.

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