House budget calls for publicizing 2017 law

Birth control measure passed, but no one knew about it

THE HOUSE BUDGET proposal includes an outside section requiring the state’s commissioner of public health to launch a public information campaign promoting the availability of 12-month prescriptions for birth control.

The provision appears to address a problem identified by a recent CommonWealth article – the Legislature passed a law in 2017 requiring insurers to honor 12-month prescriptions for contraceptives but no one publicized the law so relatively few women took advantage of it.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

The CommonWealth story said most women, insurers, and pharmacists were unaware the law existed, and those that did ran into roadblocks when they tried to obtain prescriptions or have them filled at pharmacies.

The House budget proposal would require the commissioner of public health to run a campaign bringing greater awareness to the law among women, insurers, and pharmacists.

The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans said last month it was launching an “aggressive awareness campaign” about the availability of 12-month birth control prescriptions. The association said the campaign would feature notices, emails, newsletters, and web pages of many insurers, including Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts Health Plan, Fallon Health, Health New England, BMC HealthNet Plan, and AllWays Health Partners.