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President Biden Issues Executive Order on Contraception and Family Planning Services

President Biden issued a third executive order seeking to strengthen access to contraception and family planning services.

The Order, the latest response to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, instructs federal departments to provide additional guidance to expand contraceptive access without cost-sharing and improve access to over-the-counter contraceptives. The Order asks the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider finding ways to expand access to affordable family planning services under Medicaid and expand contraceptive coverage under Medicare.

Previous Executive Orders intended to protect access to reproductive health care services by:

  • Safeguarding access to reproductive health care services, including abortion and contraception;
  • Protecting patient privacy and patient access to accurate information;
  • Promoting the safety and security of patients, providers, and clinics;
  • Coordinating implementation of federal efforts to protect reproductive rights and access to health care.

The Order is a clear signal that plan sponsors should expect guidance later this year that could impact their health plan. That said, it’s important to understand what an Executive Order is and can do.

The President’s Executive Order privilege, as authorized by the Constitution, allows the President to issue federal directives to the agencies that are governed by the Executive Branch, e.g. Treasury, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Department of Labor (DOL), etc. or provide an interpretation of policy.

It does not have force of law but directs agencies on how to carry out or enforce the current law or manage resources. These Executive Orders often result in new or revised regulations from the affected agency(ies).

As expected, Dobbs continues to change the legal landscape on abortion. As federal guidance continues to be issued, and state law continues to change via state legislatures and courts, employers are encouraged to keep in contact with trusted advisors to understand how these changes can impact their health plans. If you have additional questions, contact your OneDigital consultant.

You can stay up to date on this and other regulatory developments by following our Compliance Confidence blog.