On October 6th, the Trump administration announced an Interim Final Rule repealing the birth control coverage mandate included in the Affordable Care Act, allowing any employer - including religiously affiliated universities - to deny students and employees coverage for contraceptives within their health insurance plans. At Georgetown University in particular, this change gave the administration the option to revoke contraceptive coverage for the more than 6,600 students who are on university health insurance plans—the most in University history—as well as every faculty or staff member who utilizes their employee benefits package.
On Monday, November 13th, H*yas for Choice hand-delivered a letter to Vice President and Chief of Staff Joe Ferrara, urging the University to honor a previous commitment to allow student input on this coverage and make clear its intentions regarding a possible repeal by December 1st. H*yas for Choice subsequently sent a copy of this letter via e-mail to President John J. DeGioia, Vice President and General Counsel Lisa Brown, Vice President for Public Affairs and Senior Advisor to the President Erik Smulson, Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson, Assistant Vice President for Student Health Vince Winklerprins, and Director of the Student Health Insurance Office Laura Hardman Crosby.
Today, on the day indicated by H*yas for Choice in our letter to the administration, the Student Health Insurance office published the following update on its website:
"As it has for the past four years, Georgetown will continue to claim the accommodation related to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This means that UnitedHealthcare will provide separate payments for contraceptive services that plan participants use, without cost sharing and at no other cost to plan participants. Georgetown will not administer or fund these payments."
We know that this continued coverage is tremendously important for the sexual and reproductive wellbeing of all community members who use birth control for a variety of reasons. H*yas for Choice would like to center in this discussion the economic and social factors that contribute to many students' reliance on the Student Health Insurance plan. In a survey administered to 168 students, 69% of participants reported that they would not be able to maintain their access to contraceptive care if Student Health Insurance denied them the coverage they currently have, many of them for financial reasons.
H*yas for Choice commends the University's decision to maintain birth control coverage for students and employees. Especially for low-income and working class members of the community, we continue to affirm the need for access to all forms of health care, including reproductive and sexual health resources. We hope that in the coming days, the University will publicize this information via e-mail in order to create further transparency around its policy. As always, H*yas for Choice is committed to providing you the most up-to-date information on this issue and is happy to answer to the best of our ability any questions you may have.