Arizona Bill Amending Provision Regarding Birth Control Benefit (SB 1431)
This law was last updated on Feb 9, 2015
SB 1431 would amend the provisions of Arizona law that relates to insurance coverage of FDA approved contraceptive methods and devices by religiously affiliated employers in various insurance plans, including group and blanket disability insurance, and accountable health plans. (See A.R.S. §§ 20-1057.08; 20-1402; 20-1404; 20-2329.)
It would also add a provision to current law requiring pharmacies to fill out prescriptions.
Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives
Current law permits religiously affiliated employers to require an insurance company to provide a plan that omits coverage of specific items that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the religiously affiliated employer. If a religiously affiliated employer objects to offering a plan that covers contraception, it must sign an affidavit stating its objection and submit it to the insurance company. Contraception prescribed for a reason other than “contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion, or sterilization purposes” is excluded from this provision of the law. A religiously affiliated employer may, however, require the insurance plan subscriber to pay for the contraception first and then submit a claim to the insurance company along with evidence that the prescription is not for a purpose covered by the objection.
SB 1431 would permit a religious employer to require an insurance company to provide a plan without coverage of objectionable contraceptive devices upon submission of an affidavit stating its objections. However, SB 1431 would require the religious employer to provide written notice to prospective plan subscribers that the religious employer refuses to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods for religious reasons. Contraception prescribed for a reason other than to prevent an unintended pregnancy is excluded from the provision of the law. (SB 1431 would replace the phrase “for contraceptive, abortifacient, abortion, or sterilization purposes” with “to prevent an unintended pregnancy.”)
The insurance plan subscriber may be required to pay for the contraception and then submit a claim to the insurance company along with evidence that the prescription is for a noncontraceptive purpose.
The bill would also prohibit a religious employer from discriminating against an employee who chooses to obtain insurance coverage or prescriptions for contraceptives from another source.
These changes would apply to provisions in current law related to various types of insurance contracts, including, blanket disability insurance coverage, group disability insurance coverage, prescription drug coverage, outpatient health care services, and accountable health plans.
Duty to Fill Emergency Contraception Prescriptions
SB 1431 would require pharmacists to properly fill valid prescription orders presented to the pharmacy by or for a customer. If the pharmacy is unable to fill the prescription, the pharmacist must make every effort to either obtain a timely order, transfer the prescription to another local pharmacy of the customer’s choice, or return the unfilled prescription and refer the customer to another local pharmacy with timely access to the drug or device prescribed. A pharmacist must treat each customer with respect and dignity, making good faith efforts to ensure seamless delivery of the prescription. Additionally, a health professional who provides care to a victim of rape must provide the patient with information about emergency contraception and must provide a prescription at the patient’s request.
This bill would curb the practice of pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraceptives, and would ensure that victims of rape receive information about and a prescription for emergency contraception if they request it.
The provision requiring pharmacies to fill out valid prescriptions is similar to SB 1259, which failed to pass in 2014.