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Bill seeks to require insurers to cover over-the counter contraceptives in Maine

Free condoms are seen inside the Ottawa County, Mich., Department of Public Health office, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, in Holland, Mich.
Kristen Norman
/
AP file
Free condoms are seen inside the Ottawa County, Mich., Department of Public Health office, Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, in Holland, Mich.

State lawmakers considered a bill on Tuesday that would require insurers to cover over-the-counter contraceptives, from condoms to a newly approved daily medication, Opill.

Lisa Margulies of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England says research has found that access to contraceptives is linked to improved educational and employment outcomes as well as family stability.

"Despite these clear and well documented benefits," she says, "contraceptive access is in jeopardy."

Margulies says some states are actively pursuing policies that would restrict access.

But Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield opposes the bill. Kristine Ossenfort, director of government relations, says it's unclear how much Opill will cost.

"So you're going to mandate coverage of a drug that we don't know what the cost will be."

Ossenfort says there are other ways Mainers can access free contraceptives, including an existing state law that requires insurers to cover them when prescribed by a physician.