HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Coverage for Birth Control

A Nebraska federal district judge ruled that Union Pacific Corp. engaged in illegal  sex discrimination when it barred coverage for prescription contraceptives from its health plans.  The L.A. Times reports,

In a sharply critical ruling, a Nebraska federal district judge said Union Pacific Corp. illegally discriminated against female employees by barring prescription contraceptive coverage from its health plans — even as it underwrote the cost of Viagra and drugs for male-pattern baldness.

. . . . In its briefs, the railroad justified its decision to exclude birth control coverage by arguing that "because fertility is 'normal,' contraception is not 'medically necessary.' " Company health plans do cover contraceptives if prescribed for a "non-contraceptive purpose," such as the treatment of skin diseases or menstrual disorders.

The judge will be issuing additional rullings discussing precisely what the railroad needs to do to come into compliance with the law.  If you are interested in the employer's coverage of prescription birth control, Professor Elizabeth Pendo has a recent article in the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal. [bm]

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