If The Affordable Care Act Is Repealed, Birth Control Coverage Will Still Be Mandatory In Vermont

May 5, 2017

If the American Health Care Act, which was passed by House Republicans on Thursday, becomes law, birth control will no longer be mandatorily covered by insurance plans. But in Vermont, birth control benefits for men and women will stay intact.

That's because Vermont codified those benefits locally, from the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. 

Last spring, lawmakers passed legislation that requires insurance companies in Vermont to cover contraceptives for women and vasectomies for men, which actually extends past the benefits outline in the Affordable Care Act.

Vermont Sen. Chris Pearson was one of the driving forces behind that legislation, passed last year. He says it was put forth with today’s political situation in mind.

“We were motivated to make sure Vermonters would be protected should the political dynamics in Washington change, and we find ourselves in a scenario where the Affordable Care Act is repealed," Pearson told VPR on Friday.

Twenty-seven other states also have laws in place requiring insurers that cover prescription contraceptives. But California and Illinois are the only states other than Vermont that require insurance coverage of birth control methods received over the counter. Maryland will also join those states and add coverage of male sterilization, but that law will not go into effect until 2018.

In Vermont, preventive services will also continue, which require health insurance plans to cover mammograms and colonoscopies without cost-sharing.

The AHCA, known colloquially as "Trumpcare," still has a long way to go before it becomes law. After passing out of the House, the bill will be debated on the Senate floor. Both of Vermont’s senators, Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, have said they do not support the legislation.