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I have employer-based coverage and I know my plan is not “grandfathered.” Yet, when I recently filled my prescription for birth control pills, I was charged a co-payment. Aren’t those plans required to cover all contraceptives without cost sharing now?

Most non-grandfathered plans (plans that started or made changes after March 23, 2010) must provide contraceptives and related services with no cost sharing when they are obtained through an in-network provider. Plans must cover at least one type of each of the 18 FDA approved methods for women. There are three categories of birth control pills that must be covered: combined hormone, progestin only, and extended/continuous use. However, plans may use reasonable medical management to limit the scope of oral contraceptive coverage within each of these three categories. For example, plans may cover generic oral contraceptives without cost sharing but impose some out-of-pocket charges for equivalent branded drugs. Check with your provider if there is a generic birth control pill available that will work for you. If there is no generic alternative or there is a medical reason you need to use a brand name birth control pill or device, ask your provider to help you request a “waiver” or “exception” from the insurance company. The “waiver” or “exception” would allow you to use the brand name drug or device with no co-payment.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.