Does my student health plan have to cover contraceptives?

Generally, yes it does, if it is a fully insured plan. A fully insured plan is one that your college or university purchases from a health insurance company. These plans are required to provide, without cost sharing, access to all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, patient education and counseling prescribed by a health care provider.

However, exceptions are made for institutions of higher education that have religious objections to providing contraceptive services. If you attend such a college or university, the college or university can opt to have the insurance company provide the contraceptive coverage directly to you, separate from the student health plan. Some universities have legally challenged this contraceptive coverage rule. While the litigation is ongoing, some universities may have excluded contraceptive coverage from their fully-insured health plan.

If your student health plan is a self-insured plan, it might not be required to cover contraceptive services. It’s up to states to regulate self-insured student health plans.  Check with your college or university to find out what type of student health plan they offer, or check with your state insurance regulator to find out what rules apply to your student health coverage.

You may have other options as well. If you are under 26, you should check if you are eligible as a dependent in your parent’s health plan. You can also consider buying coverage on your own through the Marketplace. If your income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level and you meet other requirements, you can qualify for premium tax credits; if your income is between 100% and 250% of the federal poverty level you can also qualify for cost-sharing reductions. In addition, if your income is low you might be eligible for Medicaid. Check with your state Marketplace to see if you may be eligible for Marketplace subsidies or Medicaid.

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