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Menendez joins Senate colleagues in urging Biden administration to require insurers to fully cover over-the-counter birth control, with no out-of-pocket costs or prescription barrier

More than two-thirds of voters across parties support birth control pills being sold over-the-counter

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) joined Senate colleagues in sending a letter urging the Biden Administration to require federally and state-regulated health insurance plans to fully cover over-the-counter contraceptives, including Opill – the first-ever FDA-approved over-the-counter birth control pill, which will become available in early 2024 – with no copays or out of pocket costs, without a prescription. A total of 48 Senators signed the letter.

“We urge you to improve health insurance coverage, both public and private, of the full range of FDA-approved, granted, or cleared contraceptive products—including birth control that is available over-the-counter (OTC) without requiring a prescription for coverage,” wrote the senators in their letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Department of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, and the Department of Labor Acting Secretary Julie Su. “Over 19 million women live in counties with limited access to health care providers that offer comprehensive contraceptive services, and about one-third of women who have received prescription contraceptives have reported barriers to access. Expanding access to affordable coverage for eligible, uninsured populations would improve the quality of contraceptive care that patients receive.”

“The availability of safe and effective OTC birth control products has enormous potential to help people overcome significant barriers to consistent contraceptive use, including the many logistical and financial challenges to obtaining a prescription. The FDA’s approval of Opill is a milestone; however, for an OTC birth control pill to meet its potential and be truly accessible, federal departments must ensure that it is covered without cost-sharing and without the need for a prescription as a condition of coverage,” the senators continued.

“To expand access to affordable contraception, we urge the tri-departments to issue new guidance that reflects current HRSA guidelines and clarifies that federally and state-regulated private health plans must cover OTC contraceptive products without cost-sharing, including when purchased without a prescription… Given the increased need for access to contraception in the wake of the Dobbs decision, this issue is incredibly timely and important,” the senators wrote.

As a fierce advocate for women and reproductive rights, Sen. Menendez joined Senate colleagues in June in reintroducing the Freedom to Travel for Health Care Act to block anti-choice states from limiting travel for abortion services and empower the U.S. Attorney General and affected individuals to bring civil action against those who restrict a woman’s right to cross state lines to receive legal reproductive care.

That same month, Sen. Menendez joined Senate and House colleagues in reintroducing the bicameral Right to Contraception Act, legislation that would codify and strengthen the right to contraception, which the Supreme Court first recognized more than half a century ago in Griswold v. Connecticut.

In April, Sen. Menendez led a group of Senate colleagues in introducing the Stop Anti-Abortion Disinformation (SAD) Act that would ban false advertising related to abortion services by crisis pregnancy centers. The bill directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit deceptive or misleading advertising related to the provision of abortion services and collect penalties from organizations in violation.

In 2022, Sen. Menendez joined a group of colleagues in commenting on the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) proposed rule prohibiting discrimination in health care under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. In the comment letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and the Department’s Director of the Office for Civil Rights, Melanie Fontes Rainer, the group of senators applauded the Biden Administration for restoring and expanding key nondiscrimination protections dismantled by the Trump Administration and urged to strengthen protections for underserved communities.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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