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CVS Accused of Illegally Charging Women for Birth Control
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CVS Accused of Illegally Charging Women for Birth Control

Summary: Due to an error in CVS’ price-coding system, around 11,000 women were charged for birth control that should have been free under the Affordable Care Act.

Although an Obamacare provision mandates insurers to cover generic contraceptives at zero cost to women, CVS is in hot water for charging female customers for birth control, violating the provision, according to the Huffington Post.

  
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The Affordable Care Act includes legislation that millions of women are provided generic birth control, annual check-ups, pap smears, and other preventative screenings free of charge. In addition, women with private insurance are also facing declining out-of-pocket birth control costs. The percentage of women who were issued free birth control has jumped from 15 percent to 70 percent.

Roughly 11,000 women were charged with unlawful co-pays due to a price-coding error. However, CVS is attempting to resolve the problem and will refund women who paid for birth control that should have been free.

Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) wrote a letter to Larry Merlo, the CEO of CVS, earlier this month after one of her staffers was charged $20 for a generic birth control she had filled at a Washington, D.C. CVS. Speier asserted that such a charge was illegal under the Affordable Care Act in her letter to Merlo: “Although my staff member’s issue was eventually resolved a week and numerous phone calls and pharmacy visits later, I am concerned that most women who are likely not familiar with their rights under the ACA may go without this essential family planning service that is supposed to be guaranteed to them under law.”

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Ten days after Speier’s letter was sent to Sperlo, Sol J. Ross, the head of federal affairs for CVS, responded and assured her that CVS was working to resolve the issue: “Refund checks will be [sent] to affected plan members by September 26. In fact, refund checks have already started to go out and all should be received by October 1.”

CVS clarified that it was aware of the system malfunction before Speier sent her letter. It issued a statement saying, “We are committed to assuring that our customers receive the pharmacy benefits that are available to them and apologize for any inconvenience this issue may have caused.”



Photo credit: thinkprogress.org



 

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