Ibis submits comments on HHS guidelines for coverage of preventive services

September 2011

October 3, 2011– In two letters to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Ibis Reproductive Health commented on the recently released HHS guidelines for women’s preventive services and contraception coverage under health care reform.

In the first letter, Ibis urged removal of the clause in the Amendment for Group Health Plans and Health Insurance Issuers Relating to Coverage of Preventive Services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that would allow some religious institutions to deny contraceptive coverage to employees. Ibis drew on its previous research on health care reform in Massachusetts, which showed that the religious exemption policy in Massachusetts can create significant logistical and financial barriers to contraceptive access. Ibis concluded the letter by stating that women who are insured by religiously affiliated institutions should not be denied opportunities to access contraception and improve their lives because of religious exemptions.

In the second letter, Ibis applauded the IOM for requiring coverage for FDA-approved contraceptives and called for clarification on how the guidelines will be implemented for over-the-counter FDA-approved contraceptives. Ibis recommended that the IOM not require prescriptions for over-the-counter contraception, as that may act as a barrier to access.