Supervisors OK contraception per federal mandate
The Yuma County Board of Supervisors accepted the Obamacare-mandated coverage of contraception for county employees after a brief discussion Monday.
Supervisor Russell McCloud wanted to know if coverage would include RU-486, a pill that induces abortions, after questions from concerned constituents. RU-486 is also known as mifepristone.
County Administrator Robert Pickels clarified that RU-486 is not included in the insurance package, which gives women access to generic prescription contraception — to include birth control and emergency contraception pills, injectable hormones, insertable rings, intrauterine devices and diaphragms — without copays or deductibles. The complete coverage of contraception for women insured under the county's benefits system is required by the Affordable Care Act.
A separate form of emergency contraception, also known as Plan B or the “morning-after pill,” is specifically covered under the mandate. Plan B prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus, thus preventing pregnancy. A so-called “abortion pill” blocks the hormones needed to sustain an established pregnancy, causing the embryo to be expelled.
Before Pickels clarified that RU-486 was not part of the package, McCloud wanted to know if it was possible to postpone the approval of the contraception coverage until the question had been resolved.
“We would not then be in compliance” and face potential fines, said county human resources director Felicia Medina.
“It's a really big risk for us not to comply with what's required,” added Pickels.
Prescription contraception must be available to women age 17 and older enrolled in the county's benefits plan (the age of 17 is in the Affordable Care Act mandate). The Affordable Care Act imposes coverage of several preventive items and services in addition to contraception, including smoking cessation products, fluoride and iron supplements for children, and some vaccines.
The contraception item was on the consent agenda for Monday's meeting. Consent agenda items are typically approved in a single action with little or no separate discussion.
Other items approved Monday, also on the consent agenda:
• A $430,000 settlement between the county and two people whose car was struck by a county truck in 2008. The car's driver will receive $80,000 and her passenger $350,000. The settlement money will come out of the county's self-insurance fund.
The two people were traveling on County 11th Street near Somerton Avenue on Oct. 22, 2008, when a county public works department truck made a U-turn into the path of their oncoming Toyota sedan. The Yuma County Sheriff's Office determined that the county truck driver was at fault. The truck was being used to patch potholes in the roadway.
• The final plat for a proposed housing development near Mesa Del Sol Golf Club.
The proposed subdivision consists of 42 lots on about 12 acres. Lots range from roughly 8,000 to 12,000 square feet.
The parcel is surrounded by existing homes along the golf course.
• A $64,000 settlement in a sidewalk dispute with the Mountain View Estates Development.
The developers filed a lawsuit after they deposited $1,157,000 with the county in 2004 to assure completion of the public improvements in the development near Mesa Del Sol. In 2007, there was a dispute over the quality and scope of the sidewalk improvements. The county held on to $162,136.
In resolving the issue, the county will return $64,024.50 to Mountain View Development. The money will come out of the Development Services road fund contingency.
Hillary Davis can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.