On January 22, 2024, the White House Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access released information on new actions to help strengthen access to family planning tools and more. Please read our Q&A to help you navigate and summarize this extensive announcement.
Q: What guidance has been provided to ensure family planning and reproductive health care access?
A. The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and the Treasury have given new guidance to make it easier for people to get affordable birth control and family planning services. This guidance is meant to follow the Affordable Care Act's rule that says birth control should be covered without extra costs.
Additionally, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is enhancing access to contraception for federal workers and retirees by issuing guidance to insurers participating in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.
Q: How does the guidance benefit individuals with private health insurance?
A: For individuals with private health insurance, the guidance clarifies standards and supports expanded coverage of a broader range of FDA-approved contraceptives at no cost under the Affordable Care Act. It reinforces obligations for private health insurers to cover contraception and family planning services without additional cost-sharing.
Q: What about individuals without insurance or with Medicaid coverage?
A: The guidance also addresses individuals covered by Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), reminding state Medicaid programs of their obligation to include family planning services in their benefit packages.
Q: What specific actions are being taken to protect access to emergency medical care?
A: The administration is committed to ensuring access to emergency medical care required under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA). Read about EMTALA here.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is defending this interpretation of the law before the Supreme Court while HHS is launching a comprehensive plan to educate patients about their rights and ensure hospitals meet their obligations under federal law.
Q: Are there efforts to promote access to contraception for specific groups, such as veterans and service members?
A: Yes, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has issued an interim final rule on reproductive health services. The Department of Defense (DoD) has also released policies to support service members and their families' access to reproductive health care.
Q: How are privacy and sensitive health information being safeguarded?
A: The administration is strengthening privacy protections under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to prevent disclosure of sensitive health information related to reproductive health care without consent. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is enforcing laws against illegal use and sharing of sensitive health data.
Q: What resources are available to ensure access to accurate information and legal resources?
A: The administration has launched ReproductiveRights.gov and justice.gov/reproductive-rights to provide reliable information on reproductive health care rights and access to legal resources. Additionally, the DOJ and the Office of White House Counsel have convened pro-bono attorneys to provide legal defense services related to abortion.
Q: Is there a focus on research and data collection to track impacts on access to care?
A: Yes, HHS has convened experts to discuss the state of reproductive health research and identify research gaps to track the impact of policies on access to reproductive health care.
Read the announcement in detail at: FACT SHEET: White House Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access Announces New Actions and Marks the 51st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade