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April 29, 2023

Bills to Expand Access to Contraception, Secure Health Insurance Coverage Passes House

DENVER, CO – The House today passed legislation to expand access to contraception, improve consumer protections for Colorado patients, protect hospitals and health care providers from instability in the health care market. SB23-284, sponsored by Representatives Iman Jodeh and Ron Weinberg, passed the House by a vote of 58 to 5.  HB23-1303, sponsored by Representative Kyle Brown and Speaker Julie McCluskie, passed the House by a vote of 52 to 9. 

“Coloradans should be able to access their twelve month prescribed contraceptive medication at once, but insurers are making it more difficult,” said Rep. Iman Jodeh, D-Aurora, sponsor of SB23-284. “This bill enforces the law that has been in statute since 2017. Allowing access to a twelve month supply of contraceptives at once ensures that Coloradans don’t face additional barriers to accessing their medication, such as not living close to a pharmacy, lacking reliable transportation or many other reasons. Under this legislation, insurance companies and PBM will now be required to comply with the law that they have managed to skirt since 2017.”

SB23-284 would require both insurance plans and pharmacy benefit management companies (PBMs) to cover a year's supply of contraception, which can be dispensed at one time or in smaller amounts if requested. SB23-284 builds off HB17-1186, a bipartisan bill that allowed Coloradans to access 12 months of birth control. However, legal loopholes have allowed insurers and PBMs to not comply with the law. SB23-284 ties up loose ends, and makes sure Colordans can easily access twelve month supply of contraceptives using their medical insurance. 

Research shows that dispensing one to three months of birth control at a time increases the likelihood of contraceptive discontinuation and makes it harder for people to plan their pregnancies. Additionally, access to 12 months of birth control can prevent unplanned pregnancies.

“Coloradans should be able to trust that their health insurance will be there when they get sick or injured,” said Rep. Kyle Brown, D-Louisville, sponsor of HB23-1303. “Patients and providers shouldn't be asked to pick up the tab when health insurers go out of business.  This bill makes sure that if a health insurer can't pay its bills, patients, doctors, and hospitals won't be stuck with exorbitant costs from unpaid claims for care that's already been provided.  It helps protect Coloradans from these insurance company insolvencies so that families can continue to access the care they need.”

“When a health insurance company fails, rural communities like mine are especially vulnerable because of the limited choices that rural Coloradans have when it comes to where they can receive care and who their insurer is,” said Speaker Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon, sponsor of HB23-1303. “This legislation brings more insurers into our public safety net, the Colorado Life & Health Guaranty Association, to protect hospitals, health care providers and patients in the event of a failure in the health insurance market. By protecting our rural hospitals and health care providers, we are ensuring that rural communities will continue to have access to the quality care they need.”

HB23-1303 would make the distribution of insurance claims a class 1 distribution priority in the case of an insurer’s liquidation, preventing other insurers from becoming impaired or insolvent due to another’s failure. This prioritization adjustment would be repealed on July 1, 2026.

The bill also amends the “Life and Health Insurance Protection Association Act” by:

  • Adding health maintenance organizations (HMOs) as members of the Colorado Life and Health Insurance Protection Association, bringing HMOs into this public safety net, and subjects HMOs to assessments,

  • Allocating responsibility for long-term care insurance assessments between health and life insurance association members, and

  • Specifying that the Act does not provide coverage to a person that acquires rights to receive, or to a payee or beneficiary that transfers its rights in, a structured settlement factoring transaction, as defined in federal law, regardless of when the transaction occurred.

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