Adopted by the CLUW National Convention, October 2001
Recent EEOC and court decisions have drawn attention to the lack of coverage of contraception in the majority of U.S. health care plans.
The most recent court ruling, a U.S. District Court decision issued on June 12, 2001, involved nonunion employees of Bartell Drug Company, where the judge ordered the company to cover contraceptives on the same terms that it covers other drugs and preventive care for employees.
More than half of insurance plans don't cover prescription birth control, even when they cover other prescription drugs such as Viagra. As a consequence, American women on average pay $573 per year out-of-pocket for health care, much of it on contraception - which is 68 percent more than man pay.
Covering contraception does not raise health care costs and in fact can help reduce absenteeism and other medical costs related to unintended pregnancies.
The added cost to employers for providing contraceptive coverage is $1.43 per month less than 1 percent of the average cost of medical coverage.
When the federal government added contraceptive benefits for its employees, there was no change in insurance cost.
At a time when women represent a growing percentage of union members, this is an issue that can both enhance membership benefits for current members and attract potential members.
BE IT RESOLVED that the Coalition of Labor Union Women and its chapters urge its members and supporters to communicate with unions and union health care plans about contraceptive equity.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUW urge all unions to work quickly and vigorously to secure full contraceptive coverage under their health care plans for union members and their dependents. Specifically we urge union plans to:
Cover all FDA-approved prescription methods: oral contraceptives ("the pill"); injections like Depo Provera; implants like Norplant; intrauterine devices ("IUDs"); barrier methods (diaphragms and cervical caps); and emergency contraception ("the morning after pill")
Cover annual office visits with obstetrician or gynecologist for counseling on contraception, sexually transmitted infections and pap smears
Require only co-payments or deductibles that apply to other medical services
Protect patient confidentiality
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUW work with state, county and local governments to ensure that these entities include contraceptive coverage in their health care plans.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that CLUW work with appropriate entities toward enactment of a national law (as S. 104 proposes) that codifies the EEOC and District Court rulings, making coverage for contraceptives available under health care plans on the same terms that the plan covers other drugs, devices and preventive care for employees.
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that this resolution be forwarded to the AFL-CIO and urge the federation at its upcoming convention to endorse contraceptive equity in union-negotiated health care plans, and inform employers that failure to do so is illegal.
Submitted by: CLUW Officers Council and Susan Phillips, UFCW
International Brotherhood of Teamsters Resolution