Essential Access Health advances policies at the state and federal levels that protect and expand access to quality sexual and reproductive health care for all.
For the 2017 state legislative session, Essential Access Health sucessfully sponsored SB 743 – Freedom of Choice in Family Planning to codify the federal freedom of choice in family planning provider provision into California statute. Introduced by Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez and co-authored by Senator Connie Leyva, SB 743 serves as a pathway for protecting reproductive health access and ensuring that Medi-Cal enrollees do not lose access to their preferred providers. The measure passed out of the legislature on September 13, 2017, and Governor Brown signed it into law on October 7th. SB 743 took effect January 1, 2018.
Essential Access Health has sponsored several significant legislations in the past several years that improve access to sexual and reproductive health care services in California. Bills that are now state law include:
- SB 743 - Freedom of Choice in Family Planning - Authored by Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, the measure codifies the federal freedom of choice in family planning provider provision into California statute to ensure that Medi-Cal enrollees do not lose access to their preferred family planning provider.
- The Direct Access to Reproductive Health Act – AB 1954 – Authored by Assemblymember Autumn Burke, the measure prohibits health insurance plans from requiring a referral prior to an enrollee accessing time-sensitive sexual and reproductive health care.
- SB 999 – Annual Supply of Contraceptives – This measure requires health plans and health insurance policies to cover up to a 12-month supply of prescribed, FDA-approved self-administered contraceptives, like the ring, patch and oral contraceptives. The bill was authored by Senator Fran Pavley.
- SB 1053 – The Contraceptive Coverage Equity Act – authored by Senator Holly Mitchell, the bill expanded access to the full range of FDA-approved birth control methods by ensuring that all women in California with a health insurance plan can get their prescribed birth control method of choice without restrictions or out-of-pocket costs. The law took effect January 1, 2016.
- SB 138 – The Confidential Health Information Act – This measure went into effect on January 1, 2015. Authored by Senator Ed Hernandez, SB 138 protects the personal and sensitive health information of individuals covered under another person's health insurance policy.
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