BOSTON – Today, November 14, Massachusetts Senate voted to enact H.4009, An Act advancing contraceptive coverage and economic security in our state, better known as the ACCESS Bill.
In October, the bill was restructured with a compromise between legislators, the Coalition for Choice, and a group of Massachusetts insurance carriers – who now vocally support the legislation.
“All women, men and families deserve the ability to control their own family planning and destinies,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland).
“This legislation is critical to ensure that no matter what happens in Washington, Massachusetts women of all income levels can continue to access birth control,” said Sen. Spilka, who represents Framingham.
The bill now moves to the Governor’s desk for approval. The House approved it earlier this week.
Filed in early January, the ACCESS Bill was viewed as a both a safeguard and a worst-case-scenario means to shield Massachusetts women from regressive healthcare-policy rollbacks at the Federal level. Yet the legislation simultaneously expands upon a 2006 Massachusetts contraceptive-coverage mandate, and upon co-pay free contraceptive-coverage provisions enacted under the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
The Senate has included an emergency preamble so that these changes are effective immediately. Health plans have six months to comply with the new mandates.
The ACCESS Bill mandates that more options, like IUDs, be covered co-pay free.
It also allows women to purchase full-year supplies of their medication in just one pharmacy visit.
A mandatory benefit review conducted by the Massachusetts Center for Health Information Analysis (CHIA) estimated meager premium hikes as a result of the expanded mandate. Individuals might see increases in the range of $.07 – $.20 on their monthly premiums over five years.