The Access to Birth Control bill, H.620, is on track to become law after the Vermont General Assembly approved the measure Wednesday.
With strong tri-partisan support, the bill passed 128-15-7 in the House and by unanimous voice vote in the Senate. This comprehensive legislation will increase access to the full range of reproductive health care, by codifying the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Birth Control Benefit for Vermonters and expanding on it.
Representative Ann Pugh, lead sponsor of the legislation observed,
“Access to contraceptive services is essential to women’s health, equality, economic opportunity, and the well-being of families. I am proud that Vermont has long recognized the central role that contraception plays in women’s health and lives and has led efforts to expand access to reproductive health care.”
By guaranteeing the ACA’s Birth Control Benefit, insured Vermonters will have protected access to FDA-approved contraceptive methods without cost-sharing, delays, or denial of coverage, regardless of unpredictable changes in the federal landscape. H.620 expands the federal law in two important ways:
- The Birth Control Benefit will be extended to men, by requiring no-cost sharing coverage to vasectomies and effectively bringing men’s insurance coverage in line with the benefits enjoyed by women- making Vermont the first state to do so;
- Insured women in Vermont will now be able to obtain up to twelve months of hormonal contraceptive methods during one visit, aligning the state with the Center for Disease Control contraception dispensing best practice. Studies have shown that this practice decreases the likelihood of unintended pregnancy by 30%.
Additionally, H.620 will increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC), which are the most effective method of birth control though currently the most expensive for providers to stock.
VPIRG applauds the legislators who supported H.620 and the passage of this important bill!