Catholic News Agency, August 21, 2023
“In 2014 California officials required health plans to cover abortions on the grounds that abortion constituted basic health care under the provisions of a 1975 law. Officials argued it was discriminatory to cover maternity services but not abortion.”
(a) A group health care service plan contract, except for a specialized health care service plan contract, that is issued, amended, renewed, or delivered on or after January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2015, inclusive, and an individual health care service plan contract that is amended, renewed, or delivered on or after January 1, 2000, through December 31, 2015, inclusive, except for a specialized health care service plan contract, shall provide coverage for the following, under general terms and conditions applicable to all benefits:
(1) A health care service plan contract that provides coverage for outpatient prescription drug benefits shall include coverage for a variety of federal Food and Drug Administration
(FDA)-approved prescription contraceptive methods designated by the plan. In the event the patient’s participating provider, acting within his or her scope of practice, determines that none of the methods designated by the plan is medically appropriate for the patient’s medical or personal history, the plan shall also provide coverage for another FDA-approved, medically appropriate prescription contraceptive method prescribed by the patient’s provider.
(2) Benefits for an enrollee under this subdivision shall be the same for an enrollee’s covered spouse and covered nonspouse dependents.
(b) (1)A health care service plan contract, except for a specialized health care service plan contract, that is issued, amended, renewed, or delivered on or after January 1, 2016, shall provide coverage for all of the following services and contraceptive methods for
(A) Except as provided in subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2), all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices, and other products for women, including all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs, devices, and products available over the counter, as prescribed by the enrollee’s provider.
(B) Voluntary sterilization procedures.
(C) Patient education and counseling on contraception.
(D) Followup services related to the drugs, devices, products, and procedures covered under this subdivision, including, but not limited to, management of side effects, counseling for continued adherence, and device insertion and removal.
(2) (A)Except for a grandfathered health plan,
a health care service plan subject to this subdivision shall not impose a deductible, coinsurance, copayment, or any other cost-sharing requirement on the coverage provided pursuant to this subdivision. Cost sharing shall not be imposed on any Medi-Cal beneficiary.
(B) If the FDA has approved one or more therapeutic equivalents of a contraceptive drug, device, or product, a health care service plan is not required to cover all of those therapeutically equivalent versions in accordance with this subdivision, as long as at least one is covered without cost sharing in accordance with this subdivision.
(C) If a covered therapeutic equivalent of a drug, device, or product is not available, or is deemed medically inadvisable by the enrollee’s provider, a health care service plan shall provide coverage, subject to a plan’s utilization management procedures, for the prescribed
contraceptive drug, device, or product without cost sharing. Any request by a contracting provider shall be responded to by the health care service plan in compliance with the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act of 1975, as set forth in this chapter and, as applicable, with the plan’s Medi-Cal managed care contract.
(3) Except as otherwise authorized under this section, a health care service plan shall not impose any restrictions or delays on the coverage required under this subdivision.
(4) Benefits for an enrollee under this subdivision shall be the same for an enrollee’s covered spouse and covered nonspouse dependents.
(5) For purposes of paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subdivision, “health care service plan” shall include Medi-Cal managed care plans that contract with the State Department of Health Care
Services pursuant to Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 14000) and Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 14200) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, a religious employer may request a health care service plan contract without coverage for FDA-approved contraceptive methods that are contrary to the religious employer’s religious tenets. If so requested, a health care service plan contract shall be provided without coverage for contraceptive methods.
(1) For purposes of this section, a “religious employer” is an entity for which each of the following is true:
(A) The inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the entity.
(B) The entity primarily employs persons who
share the religious tenets of the entity.
(C) The entity serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the entity.
(D) The entity is a nonprofit organization as described in Section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
(2) Every religious employer that invokes the exemption provided under this section shall provide written notice to prospective enrollees prior to enrollment with the plan, listing the contraceptive health care services the employer refuses to cover for religious reasons.
(d) This section shall not be construed to exclude coverage for contraceptive supplies as prescribed by a provider, acting within his or her scope of practice, for reasons other than contraceptive purposes, such as
decreasing the risk of ovarian cancer or eliminating symptoms of menopause, or for contraception that is necessary to preserve the life or health of an enrollee.
(e) This section shall not be construed to deny or restrict in any way the department’s authority to ensure plan compliance with this chapter when a plan provides coverage for contraceptive drugs, devices, and products.
(f) This section shall not be construed to require an individual or group health care service plan contract to cover experimental or investigational treatments.
(g) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(1) “Grandfathered health plan” has the meaning set forth in Section 1251 of PPACA.
(2) “PPACA” means the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended by the federal Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-152), and any rules, regulations, or guidance issued thereunder.
(3) With respect to health care service plan contracts issued, amended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2016, “provider” means an individual who is certified or licensed pursuant to Division 2 (commencing with Section 500) of the Business and Professions Code, or an initiative act referred to in that division, or Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of this code.