Planned Parenthood Denounces Harmful Changes in Regulation of Health Insurance; Women in Every State Will Lose Health Care Benefits, Law Should More Honestly Be Titled the "Lose Your Benefits Bill"
March 15, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC — Today the U.S. Senate is considering a bill that would have a serious and damaging impact on health coverage for women across the United States. The Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (HIMMAA), introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), would allow insurance companies to ignore nearly all state laws that require insurance coverage for certain treatments or conditions, such as laws that require them to include contraceptives in their prescription plans.
"This legislation should more honestly be titled the 'Lose Your Benefits Bill,' since that is what will happen to millions of Americans if it passes," said Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards. "We need to move forward in expanding health care access, particularly preventive health care, including birth control. This bill does exactly the opposite."
HIMMAA would nullify hundreds of state laws that ensure patients get the medical care they need. It would
- not allow women to designate their ob/gyns as primary care providers
- not allow women to seek care directly from their ob/gyns, but would force them to be screened by their primary care doctors first
- dismantle coverage for contraception
- dismantle coverage for annual cervical cancer exams
- not allow women to stay with the same doctor throughout a pregnancy, if that doctor was dropped from the insurance provider plan
For years, many insurance plans covered prescription drugs, but refused to cover birth control pills and other prescription contraceptives for women. In the past decade lawmakers in 23 states have remedied this inequity and enacted contraceptive coverage laws. Under HIMMAA, women would lose contraceptive equity protections currently guaranteed by state law.
"States enacted protective laws to ensure that women receive the quality health care and fair treatment that they deserve," said Richards. "We can't allow the health care industry to steamroll over these protections. Congress needs to stand up for women's health and safety."