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Washington insurers to revamp info on contraceptive benefits

Associated Press

OLYMPIA – Eight insurance companies agreed Thursday to revamp the information they give consumers about contraception benefits to make sure it is accurate.

The insurance companies were responding to a request from state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.

A 2014 phone survey conducted by pro-abortion rights groups of the eight health insurers selling plans inside Washington state’s exchange – Wahealthplanfinder – found that women seeking information about contraceptive coverage were routinely given inaccurate information.

Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers must cover all federally approved methods of contraception with no copays or co-insurance.

The “secret shopper” survey took place from July to November 2014. Volunteers for Northwest Health Law Advocates and NARAL Pro-Choice Washington called each of the eight health insurers and asked about contraceptive benefits.

The insurance commissioner’s office said many insurance company employees struggled to answer specific questions.

Answers varied across the eight insurers, and in some cases among representatives of the same company, the insurance commissioner’s office said. Sales and customer-service representatives routinely told callers that select methods of contraceptives had copays or co-insurance while other methods did not, the commissioner’s office said.

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