Birth Control Heated Issue

By: Karen Kostko
By: Karen Kostko

Last month, a Marathon County employee filed a complaint against the county because her insurance didn't cover birth control pills. County officials say contraceptives are provided as a fringe benefit, but for employees to receive the coverage, they have to follow certain criteria.

"The criteria is medical necessity and not just a blank sheet of coverage where I want this item," says Marathon County Corporation Counsel, Thomas Finley.

County officials say they were notified of the complaints, by the state, and last night, met behind closed doors to discuss the status of the complaints. No decisions were made in that closed door meeting and Finley says they will continue with their current policy.

Representatives from Family Planning Health Services say they're surprised at the county's policy.

"It doesn't really makes a lot of sense for them to take these legal risks and it's discriminatory against women," Lon Newman of Family Planning says.

Under the equal employment opportunity commission, employers who fail to provide insurance for birth control may be unlawfully discriminating against their female employees. That's why family planning representatives want all employers to offer full coverage for birth control.