Measure Would Require Employers to Provide Coverage for Prescription Contraceptives
Legislation Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt sponsored to ensure that employer-provided health care policies in New Jersey cover contraceptives was advanced Monday by an Assembly committee.
The bill (A-2666) would make it an unlawful employment practice under the Law Against Discrimination for an employer to provide a health benefits plan to its employees that excludes coverage for expenses incurred in the purchase of prescription female contraceptives.
“Access to affordable birth control is fundamental to women’s health care. In addition to providing women with reproductive freedom, contraceptives that aid in managing conditions like endometriosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder and chronic pelvic pain are crucial to women’s wellness,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington), chair of the Assembly Women and Children Committee. “Making sure employers provide comprehensive coverage for all of their workers – regardless of sex – is a matter of upholding the right of New Jersey residents to make the best health care decisions.”
Prior to the implementation of the federal contraceptive mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the cost of contraception had a disproportionate negative financial impact on low-income women, Lampitt said.
“The Affordable Care Act has advanced women’s health care, and in this moment, it’s critical that we work to prevent any steps backward,” said Lampitt. “Women have unique health care needs. They shouldn’t face barriers to quality, affordable health care because of that.”
The measure would not apply to any religious employer if the coverage of contraceptives conflicts with the employer’s bona fide religious beliefs and practices. Additionally, the bill would not apply to any health benefits plan that maintains grandfathered status pursuant to the federal Affordable Care Act for as long as the plan meets all grandfathering requirements as provided under that law.
The legislation was advanced by the Assembly Labor Committee.