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Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, asks a question during the Senate's Committee on Rules Friday, April 28, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo by Phil Sears)

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Lauren Book files bill that would boost contraceptive coverage

Health-insurance policies would be required to provide coverage for FDA-approved contraceptive drugs without imposing deductibles, coinsurance or co-payment requirements under a bill filed Friday by state Sen. Lauren Book.

The proposal (SB 1718) also would require insurance companies and HMOs to provide follow-up services, including insertion or removal of contraceptive devices, without additional cost-sharing requirements.

The bill would provide an exemption from the mandate for religious employers and “closely held for profit entities” that oppose the coverage due to the owners’ “sincerely held religious beliefs.” To qualify as a closely held entity, 50 percent of the ownership interest would need to be held by five or fewer people or must have a “substantially similar” ownership structure. Additionally, the company could not be publicly traded.

The bill, filed for the legislative session that starts Tuesday, would direct the Florida Department of Health to establish rules to establish the exemption process for businesses. The Trump administration in October issued a pair of rules that rolled back a mandate that women have access to birth control without additional out-of-pocket costs.

A House version of Book’s bill had not been filed Friday.

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