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Montana

Contraceptive Equity

Montana law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception. 

What is required?  If an insurance plan covers prescription medication and medical services, it must cover prescription contraceptives and related medical services. 

What is the legal basis for this requirement?  Unlike other states with explicit laws guaranteeing equitable coverage for contraception, Montana has not enacted a specific contraceptive-coverage law.  Rather, Attorney General Mike McGrath has issued a formal, binding opinion, concluding that insurance plans that provide coverage of prescription medication and other medical services also must provide coverage of prescription contraceptives and related medical services.  Attorney General McGrath based his decision on Montana's unisex insurance law and Human Rights Act, both of which prohibit sex discrimination.   

Do all employers have to follow the attorney general's opinion?  Yes.  A Montana attorney general opinion is controlling unless a court overrules it or the legislature modifies it.

51 Op. Att'y Gen. 16 (Mar. 28, 2006); Mont. Code Ann. §§ 49-2-309 (Enacted 1983; Last Amended 1993), 49-2-303 (Enacted 1974; Last Amended 2001); Matt Gouras, AG Says Insurers Required to Cover Contraceptives, Assoc. Press, Mar. 29, 2006. 

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