House lawmakers last week introduced legislation that would align Tricare health coverage with the Affordable Care Act to allow women who receive health care through the armed services have access to contraception and counseling services with no health insurance co-pay.
According to the bill’s sponsors, although the ACA provides civilian women coverage for generic Federal Drug Administration-approved contraception and counseling without cost-sharing, the policy does not apply to many of the 3 million servicewomen and dependents with Tricare health coverage. The sponsors said recent research indicates that women in the military have a rate of unplanned pregnancy that is 50 percent higher than that of the general population.
The Access to Contraception for Women Servicemembers and Dependents Act, which has 60 original co-sponsors, is the House companion to a Senate bill (S. 2687) introduced in July by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).
According to the draft of Shaheen’s bill, the legislation would “ensure that every military treatment facility has a sufficient stock of a broad range of FDA-approved methods of contraception to dispense to any women members of the Armed Forces and female covered beneficiaries who receive care through such facilities.”