Human Capital & Careers

Benefit Plan Must Include Contraceptives for Women

Judge rules on first federal challenge to employers that don't cover birth control.
Stephen TaubJune 13, 2001

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Bartell Drug Co.’s employee health-insurance plan must include contraceptives for women.

U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik issued a summary judgment for Jennifer Erickson in her lawsuit against Bartell, the first federal challenge to employers that don’t cover birth control, according to published reports.

In 1998, Congress required health plans for federal employees to cover prescription contraceptives.

In 1999, 60 groups appealed to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to instruct employers that excluding contraceptives from their health plans amounts to sex discrimination, according to published accounts.

The issue intensified when a number of insurers agreed to cover the recently introduced Viagra.

According to published accounts, Erickson became frustrated when she had to constantly tell customers that they must pay for their birth control pills since Bartlett—and most other health plans–excluded contraceptives from its health plan.

However, many corporate health plans cover abortions and vasectomies.

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