CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Believing that confusion over odd wording led to its defeat last week, Sen. Ron Stollings, D-Boone, hopes to revive a bill that would require health care insurers to cover costs of contraception and maternity care for dependent daughters of insurees (SB169).
The bill was rejected on a 5-6 vote in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee last week.
Stollings said that vote was the result of confusion over the bill's definition of contraceptives as drugs or devices intended to prevent "maternity," rather than "pregnancy."
"Prevention of maternity" somehow got in the bill, as opposed to "prevention of pregnancy," Stollings said.
"We need to get the bill out of Banking and Insurance with the original intent -- conception to prevent pregnancy -- and then get the bill referred to Finance Committee, where it should have been in the first place," he said.
Some senators, he said, were concerned that the bill was not referred to Finance Committee, even though the legislation is projected to cost the Public Employees Insurance Agency $12.6 million over its first three years. That includes $3.6 million for the costs of contraceptives and $9 million for maternity costs for dependants who are currently not covered.
However, Margaret Chapman Pomponio with WVFree said an independent financial analysis indicates that the legislation ultimately would save the state about $19 million a year, by reducing costs associated with inadequate prenatal care for teen pregnancies, resulting in premature and low-weight births.
Julie Archer, with the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, said the legislation isn't pro-abortion, since it covers prenatal and maternal care for dependent daughters who chose to carry their pregnancies to term.
Legislative rules require that the committee take up a motion to reconsider last week's vote at its meeting this afternoon, or the bill will be dead for the remainder of the session.
Also Monday, the Senate: