National Women’s Law Center files discrimination complaint

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Last Tuesday, one of the first battles of the Affordable Care Act was sparked in Pennsylvania’s higher education system.

Utilizing the new law, the Washington-based National Women’s Law Center filed a discrimination complaint with the federal Office for Civil Rights against the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

The complaint states that PASSHE’s healthcare plan excludes pregnancy coverage for dependants, thereby violating a section of Affordable Care requiring plans to provide comprehensive care to women, which includes pregnancy.

“We were aware of the problem of young women who were dependent on their parent’s plans not getting covered for maternity. It’s clear that [ACA] does apply in that situation, so we investigated and discovered many plans that excluded this coverage,” says Sharon Levin, the director of federal reproductive health policy at NWLC.
The complaint names five U.S. companies and organizations nationwide, including PASSHE.

In a statement PASSHE sent to Metro last week, media relations manager Kenn Marshall said, “All of PASSHE’s healthcare plans provide maternity coverage to covered employees, spouses and domestic partners… The HMO plans provide full maternity coverage to covered dependent daughters. The PPO plan provides coverage to dependent daughters for some pre-natal care and testing, as well as coverage for any procedures required as a result of complications resulting from pregnancy.”

“So there response is, ‘People get to choose between one plan that discriminates and one plan that doesn’t?’ The law requires that each of the plans not discriminate,” replied Levin, when the statement was read to her. “I would ask: If you’re already covering this in one of the plans, why not just cover it in the other?”


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