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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 15, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 20
HHS to issue contraceptive guidelines in response to Patty Murray letter
Section One
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HHS to issue contraceptive guidelines in response to Patty Murray letter

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced May 11 that her department will issue new guidelines clarifying women's rights to contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Senator Patty Murray and 38 other Democrats had written to Burwell demanding clarification of consumers' rights under the ACA.

Reports by the National Women's Law Center, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Northwest Health Law Advocates, and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington showed that some healthcare plans are not in compliance with ACA, and have been denying women coverage, charging them incorrectly, or providing inaccurate information on contraception.

The reports also identified gaps in coverage for transition-related care, preventive services for covered dependents, and other critical health care needs.

Murray welcomed Burwell's announcement in a statement.

'Today's announcement is an important step toward making it clear that all insurance companies should follow the rules and provide women with the health care they are entitled to, including access to all forms of FDA-approved contraceptive methods,' she wrote.

'I've been deeply concerned about reports in Washington state and across the country that show insurers are failing to uphold the standards set in the Affordable Care Act when it comes to women's health. I'm pleased that with this announcement Secretary Burwell is acting to address these violations as well as others that have become barriers to accessing critical preventive care, especially for those in the transgender community. I look forward to continuing to work with her and my colleagues to help the families and communities we serve get the health care they need.'

Murray and her colleagues wrote to Burwell on May 5. The week before, Murray also wrote to eight Washington state insurance providers challenging them on their failure to provide accurate information about contraceptive information to consumers.

According to Murray's office, three of the insurers - Coordinated Care, Bridgespan, and Community Health Plan of Washington - responded with assurances that they would address the issues raised by the Senator.

Washington's other U.S. senator, Maria Cantwell, was among the senators who joined Murray in her May 5 letter to Burwell.

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