State requires Medicaid insurers to cover higher-cost birth control

Insurers participating in New York's Medicaid program will lose their state contracts if they deny female members' choice of higher-cost, brand-name contraceptives, reported the Associated Press. Some insurers have told their members they must switch to less expensive contraceptives unless those cheaper, generic methods fail, causing pregnancy, bleeding or nausea.

"If a health plan is not attentive to the needs of its patients, they will no longer be a contracted health plan with New York's Medicaid program," James Introne, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's deputy secretary for health, said. "If there is resulting patient discomfort with a health care plan or its policies, it is a situation that the state will remedy."

Leslie Moran of the New York Health Plan Association said insurers have been working with the state to ensure access and address any issues. "As previously indicated, all plans cover a variety of contraceptive methods--generics, brand name or both--because they are committed to ensuring women have access to this important coverage," she said. Article