Attorney General Letitia James announced that UnitedHealthcare, the biggest health insurance company in the country, would be required to pay a $1 million penalty for neglecting to offer birth control coverage, which is a breach of New York state law.

According to a news release, the attorney general’s office started an inquiry into the corporation after receiving a complaint from a patient in Brooklyn who had been refused coverage of an oral contraceptive by UnitedHealthcare’s Oxford policy. According to James’ office, the patient’s appeal was denied, and their insurance plan forced them to get prior permission or alternative therapies. As a result, they were compelled to abandon their birth control.

The attorney general stated that this action violated the Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act (CCCA) of New York, which mandates that health insurance plans must cover contraceptives authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration without any copayments, limits, or delays.

James stated, “Birth control is an important medication that millions of people use every day. Denying health insurance coverage of birth control can cause serious health concerns for anyone who takes the medication. Reproductive health care is essential to the safety and well-being of New Yorkers, and it is crucial that health insurers abide by New York’s reproductive health care laws.”

She further remarked that, in addition to the $1 million penalty, UnitedHealthcare would reimburse customers who paid for birth control out of their own money, along with a 12% interest rate. The eligible customers will be informed and requested to make a claim. Those with prospective claims will also be notified.

According to James, the organization is also responsible for ensuring that all of its health plans comply with the CCCA and for providing training to all staff members involved in approving claims for contraception in compliance with New York laws.

She urged New Yorkers who believed their health insurance provider had wrongly refused them coverage to get in touch with her office and lodge a complaint. Customers insured by UnitedHealthcare who have paid for birth control and think they should have been covered should not hesitate to reach out, she added.

The Office of the Attorney General’s action emphasizes the importance of having access to reproductive health services and the implementation of rules intended to protect consumers from exorbitant costs and barriers to receiving treatment. Legal measures taken in the past against anti-abortion organizations and lobbying for increased access to reproductive healthcare are examples of Attorney General James’s larger commitment to protecting reproductive health rights.

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