Arizona

Arizona legislators propose religious opt-out from mandated birth control coverage

President Obama got more than he bargained for when he proposed that all insurance carriers should be required to offer birth control pills for their female employees, whether it was against one’s conscience or not.

However, in Arizona, lawmakers would like to pass a bill – known as the Arizona Contraception Bill – that would allow all businesses to opt out of offering contraceptives.

Says Republican Arizona State Rep. Debbie Lesko, “Government shouldn’t be telling employers, Catholic organizations and mom-and-pop (businesses) to do something that’s against their moral beliefs.”

The bill would require women to tell their insurance carrier why they need birth control, allowing refusal if it is not to treat a medical condition. That way, if the woman needs it for something else – say, acne or treating cysts – she will still be able to attain it.

Arizona is one of twenty-six states that generally require insurance plans to cover contraceptives, but it also allows religious organizations to refuse. Under Obama’s mandate, that religious exemption would end.

This bill is under heavy fire from Democrats who say that it is not fair to women and that it will affect their privacy, but Lesko insists that “all my bill does is that an employer can opt out of the mandate if they have any religious objections.”

  • Jdjdjeeeeerrrryyy

    Lesko’s comment really did nothing to address the privacy issues, which are my main concerns for this bill. Has he said anything to actually address this?

    • Dempsz

      Interesting you assumed Rep. Lesko was a “he”. “The bill would require women to tell their insurance carrier why they need birth control, allowing refusal if is not to treat a medical condition”. The insurance carrier already knows about the patient’s diagnosis and meds. How is this a privacy issue?

      • VanTed

        My thoughts exactly!!  Our insurance companies have more information on us then our primary care physicians most likely.  After all, anything that a doctor does needs to get authorization from the ins. company.  Common sense also will tell you if you have ever had medical insurance, that it wouldn’t be the patient calling the ins. company for BC but the doctor requesting it directly FOR the patient.  Typically if denied that is when the patient would be the one filing a claim or grievance for non-coverage.  I have a son with many medical disabilities and on many medications.  This is the standard procedure with any insurance I have ever dealt with.  

        With that said, let me remind everyone that there are parents that are losing their homes because they have medical and pharmaceutical bills to pay to keep their children alive.  Why are you not up in flames for the lack of coverage for these people?  WHERE IS YOUR CONSCIENCE??? 

      • Oedipa Mossmonn

        This story implies that you communicate your sexual habits with your insurer — which is weird enough — but it’s actually your employer who’s given that entitlement. And given that Arizona is a right-to-work state, that means that your employer could fire you if he thought you were a slut. That’d be funny if it weren’t so scary. Oboy. Team Jerk Jesus is strong out there in the desert.

    • MoonChild02

      HIPPA states that insurance carriers and companies are required to keep your medical records private. If they don’t, they can be sued. Insurance carriers, i.e. your employer, already have your medical records, so they already know your history. With HIPPA as law, your privacy is already protected.

      • Guest

        Insurance carriers, i.e. your employer, already have your medical records, so they already know your history. With HIPPA as law, your
        privacy is already protected.

        If your employer has records, they must keep them confidential.  That does not mean they are automatically entitled to know what medications you use and why you use them. 

  • Guest

    Correction requested:

    The bill would require women to tell their insurance carrier why they
    need birth control, allowing refusal if it is not to treat a medical
    condition.

    This is false.  The  bill (Arizona HB 2625) permits employers to require that employees buy birth control out-of-pocket and then submit a claim to the employer for reimbursement, not to the insurance carrier.  The employer is also permitted to charge a fee for the processing of this claim.

    • Guest

       Point of clarification: I had assumed that when Ms. Reynolds said that women would have to tell their “insurance carrier” why they needed the medication, she meant that they would have to tell their insurance companies. It is possible that she knew that the insurance carrier is the employer.

      In response to the comments above:

      The insurance carrier already knows about the patient’s diagnosis and meds.
      No.  Your insurance company already knows what meds you’re taking, but your employer, the insurance carrier, does not know.  This bill would permit employers to require that women submit their reimbursement requests to the company’s Human Resources department, or perhaps to the company’s Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, for approval.

      • Oedipa Mossmonn

        Yeah. Your boss would basically be able to decide if your schtooping too many people, the wrong people, or maybe you just shouldn’t be schtooping at all. Or you’re fired. Wow. What do they put in the water down there in AZ? They’s all kinds of crazy.