Natural Family Planning Insurance Coverage Will Continue After Federal Judge Injunction

Nurse practitioner Cami Jo Tice-Harouff will continue to be reimbursed for the fertility awareness-based birth control (FABM) methods — also known as natural family planning — she teaches her patients.

Federal District Judge Jeremy Kernodle for the Eastern District of Texas in Tyler issued an injunction support Tice-Harouff and prevent a rule change that would likely end coverage.

Tice-Harouff is represented by the nonprofit Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

In 2016, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) passed regulations requiring contraception to be covered by health insurance plans. The regulations stated, “In addition, instruction on methods based on fertility awareness, including the Lactational Amenorrhea Method, although less effective, should be given to women desiring an alternative method.”

In 2021, HHS amended the regulations and removed the sentence regarding FABM coverage.

The majority of Tice-Harouff’s practice involves teaching and coaching women to use these natural birth control methods.

“Many of my patients are dissatisfied with hormonal birth control,” Tice-Harouff said. The Texan. She sees women of all faiths who want to use “a method that will help them take charge of their fertility.”

His patients say they “feel more confident in understanding how their bodies work, a greater ability to report deviations, and the impact of hormonal agents on their bodies.”

FABM is more than just learning a method; it involves many medical protocols. “The science has advanced and involves specialist training,” noted Tice-Harouff, who holds a doctorate in nursing practice in advanced nursing practice from Samford University.

Teaching Natural Methods typically requires patients to meet with her six times during the first few months of teaching. Sessions are covered at a reimbursement rate of approximately $300 to $450 per appointment, depending on the pleadings.

Tice-Harouff donates a portion of the proceeds to a nonprofit clinic that provides health care to the needy, an ADF press release said.

ADF lead attorney Julie Blake said the notice about the coverage changes was very confusingly written, inaccurate, and buried on the HHS website. Many of those who would be affected by such a change, she said, were unable to provide feedback and comments as required by law.

In making the change, ADF claimed that HHS did not follow proper procedures. Kernodle agreed.

“​Yet when HRSA notified its intention to adopt the 2021 guidelines, the agency did not provide sufficient notice of the elimination of coverage for the FABM board,” he wrote. in his opinion.

Tice-Harouff is very pleased with the decision and says her patients “are thrilled” and that the loss of this coverage “could take a heavy toll on their families.”

“There are providers all over the country who rely on this. The bottom line is that women shouldn’t be afraid of losing their doctor or their coverage to bureaucrats in the back office.

The injunction requires that the current wording, including the FABM, be maintained “until modified by a final rule (not an interim final rule) issued after public notification and opportunity for comment in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act”.

According to Blake, HHS said it would comply with the court injunction so that FABM’s coverage would not be affected. She doesn’t know if HHS will pursue the rule change using the appropriate amendment process.

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