CHICAGO — Insurance companies on Wednesday said they would cover contraception coverage for their female employees under their insurance plans, despite the fact that a majority of women have had no access to contraception since President Donald Trump took office.
Health insurers have been working to change that by offering coverage for birth control, a key part of the Affordable Care Act, to women through their policies.
The changes come as the Trump administration is considering repealing the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires individuals to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.
Under the ACA, companies that provide health insurance to their employees must cover contraception and abortion coverage, but they are not required to provide the coverage to their full-time employees.
The new requirement is aimed at helping women avoid discrimination based on their health, said Karen DeYoung, senior vice president of public affairs at the National Women’s Law Center, a Washington-based reproductive rights advocacy group.
If an employer does not offer contraception coverage, the employee can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which can then investigate whether the employer violated federal anti-discrimination laws, DeYoung said.
The EEOC can issue a ruling.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of employers that provide contraception coverage to employees.
For women who have received no contraception coverage under the ACA since the mandate was put in place in 2010, there is no provision to prevent them from using their insurance to pay for contraceptives, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The ACA requires insurance plans to cover birth-control methods, including the morning-after pill, the morning after pill patch, the IUD or a “short-acting” implant.
The ACA also requires insurers to provide a comprehensive plan of care for contraception, including birth control methods and other contraceptive services.
Women who have had birth control under the mandate have been given coverage through a variety of plans, including plans offered by the American Health Benefit Association, a nonprofit health care group that provides health insurance.
They include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, United Health Care and WellPoint, according the Kaiser Foundation.
While employers may not have to provide contraception, it is unclear whether they would be able to do so.
“Employers will have to figure out how to accommodate the individual mandate,” said Erin A. Sullivan, senior policy analyst at the Kaiser Health News.
The issue has been a contentious one in recent months.
While the Affordable Healthcare Act includes a provision requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage to female employees, the Obama administration has not taken any enforcement action against employers that have not yet implemented that requirement.
The Trump administration has taken steps to ease the burden of the ACA on women and employers, including cutting the size of the mandate to $100 per month from $500.
Trump also has proposed an increase in federal spending on grants to help women who lack contraceptive coverage.
The administration has also asked insurers to offer birth control to their female workers in a single-person policy, as well as to allow insurers to charge women higher premiums.