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1) Sept 29 [press release] -- The Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury (the Departments) are seeking public input on how best to ensure coverage and access to over-the-counter (OTC) preventive services, including the benefits of requiring most health insurance plans to cover these services at no cost and without a prescription by a health care provider. This new Request for Information (RFI) solicits comment on access to a range of OTC items recommended by experts for preventive care that can be purchased without a prescription, including contraceptives, tobacco smoking cessation products, folic acid during pregnancy, and breastfeeding supplies.

Under the Affordable Care Act, most plans and issuers must cover certain recommended preventive items and services at no cost. Several of these recommended preventive items and services are currently available to consumers OTC without a prescription but are not required to be covered without cost sharing unless prescribed by a health care provider. The goal of the RFI is to understand the potential challenges and benefits for various interested parties, including consumers, plans, issuers, pharmacies, and health care providers, to provide coverage at no cost for recommended OTC preventive products without requiring a prescription. The Departments are committed to ensuring that everyone is able to access affordable and critical preventive items and services, including OTC preventive products. . . .

The Departments hope that the comments received in response to the RFI will expand their understanding of the potential health equity effects of requiring coverage for OTC preventive products, without cost sharing and without a prescription by a health care provider, in addressing systemic racism and historic inequity for women and LGBTQIA communities. There will be a 60-day comment period. To be assured consideration, comments must be received at one of the addresses provided in the Request for Information 60 days after date of publication in the Federal Register.

Press release: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-requests-public-input-coverage-over-counter-preventive-services-including-contraception-tobacco
 
2) Oct 4 FRN -- This document is a request for information (RFI) regarding the application of the preventive services requirements under section 2713 of the Public Health Service Act (PHS Act) to over-the-counter (OTC) preventive items and services available without a prescription by a health care provider. The Department of the Treasury, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Health and Human Services (the Departments) are issuing this RFI to gather input from the public regarding the potential benefits and costs of requiring non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance issuers offering nongrandfathered group or individual health insurance coverage to cover OTC preventive items and services without cost sharing and without a prescription by a health care provider; seek comment on any potential challenges associated with providing such coverage; understand whether and how providing such coverage would benefit consumers; and assess any potential burden that plans and issuers would face if required to provide such coverage. To be assured consideration, comments must be received at one of the addresses provided below, no later than 5 p.m. ET on December 4, 2023.

FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-21969

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