​CVS Has Been Illegally Charging Women for Birth Control

Illustration for article titled ​CVS Has Been Illegally Charging Women for Birth Control

Despite the fact that the Affordable Care Act's Women's Health Amendment states that all FDA-approved birth control, like pills, vaginal rings, patches, implantable rods, IUDs, prescribed by a doctor is exempt from cost-share, it looks like some companies have conveniently forgot the mandate, charging women anyway. Good going!

On Monday, CVS Monday copped to charging about 11,000 women for generic contraceptives, something they attributed to a glitch, a drug price coding error that has apparently affected multiple companies. In a letter to Congresswoman Jackie Speier—in response to a September 9 letter Speier sent to CVS, calling the company out on their violation of federal law and calling for their reimbursement—Sol J. Ross, Head of Federal Affairs of CVS health reassured that the 11,000 women would all receive reimbursements by October 1, 2014. In an update posted to Speier's site, she states:

"I am encouraged that CVS is identifying those who have been impacted by this error and will provide them with reimbursements. In addition, CVS must make sure its pharmacists know the core tenets of the Affordable Care Act to provide effective and legal customer service. I still urge individuals to contact my office who have been charged an illegal co-pay."


Speier has recommended that other companies she has received complaints about like Walgreens and Target also more properly train their retail pharmacists. As for CVS, this isn't the first time they've been caught unnecessarily charging people for prescription drugs. Back in 2011, CVS Caremark paid almost $20 million to settle three different lawsuits alleging that the company defrauded pension systems in California, Illinois, and Florida.

Let's hope they fix that "glitch" soon.

Image via AP.

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Walgreens in Illinois charges a $20 "convenience fee" if you get a three-month supply of birth control refilled. I just refill one month at a time now, but have questioned the legality of this practice.