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ACA and Reproductive Health Rights

Due to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, on June 25, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a press release which provided information about the right to access to contraception. The main takeaway is a reminder that under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most health plans are required to provide birth control and family planning counseling with no out-of-pocket costs, including:

  • Hormonal methods, like birth control pills and vaginal rings;
  • Implanted devices, like intrauterine devices (IUDs);
  • Emergency contraception, such as Plan B® and ella®;
  • Barrier methods, like diaphragms and sponges;
  • Patient education and counseling; and
  • Sterilization procedures.

Among other things, the press release also includes information about legally required access to other women’s preventive health services with no out-of-pocket costs under most health insurance plans, such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, prenatal care, HIV screening and STI counseling.

Next Steps for Employers

Plan sponsors, particularly, those in states which are restricting access to abortion and/or considering additional restrictions related to reproductive rights should be mindful of the ACA’s requirements on reproductive health.

Employers who have questions related to ERISA preemption and may be in situations where state law is in direct conflict with federal law, should seek the guidance of their legal counsel. Additional information about legal rights and available federal resources is available on the HHS website at ReproductiveRights.gov.

HR Works, Inc., headquartered at 200 WillowBrook Office Park in Fairport (Rochester), New York, with an office in East Syracuse, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.