How Supreme Court's Decision On Contraception Under ACA Could Affect Maine Women, Despite State Law

Jul 9, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday upheld the Trump administration's rule allowing employers to opt out of covering contraception, a decision that could affect 70,000 to 126,000 women in the U.S., including many in Maine.

A Maine law enacted in 2017 requires that the insurance plans that companies offer to employees cover contraceptives, regardless of what happens at the federal level.

But Nicole Clegg, with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, says Maine companies that self-fund their own health insurance aren’t regulated by the state, and don't have to follow state insurance laws.

"So there are insurance plans that are subject to Maine law, or to state law, and then there are self-insured plans that are only subject to federal law," Clegg says. "So there are plans that are available in Maine and other states that aren't subject to [state] insurance law."

Because those insurance plans aren't regulated by the state, Clegg says it's difficult to say how many Mainers have insurance through self-funded plans. But according to a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 36% of Maine employers offered at least one such plan in 2018.

The Supreme Court ruling upholds a Trump administration regulation that allows employers to decline to cover contraceptives if they have a religious or moral objection to it.