Updates in Contraception Coverage

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a number of questions have arisen surrounding contraception and insurance coverage.  In the last week, we have seen the discussion move forward for both businesses and nonprofits, though the issue is not entirely settled yet.

For religiously affiliated nonprofits, including charities, hospitals and universities, the federal government came down with a finalized rule on Friday.  The new guidelines look to make a compromise by exempting these religious institutions from having to cover contraception in their health plans while requiring that insurance companies do provide a plan that covers these costs.  This new rule is intended to allow religious freedom for organizations while guaranteeing that women have real access to birth control.

The issue is further from a real resolution for private for-profit businesses.  Hobby Lobby has challenged the federal contraception mandate, and last week a court issued a temporary solution.  A federal court of appeals, determining that the company’s case had a chance of success, established an injunction which will temporarily exempt Hobby Lobby from millions of dollars in fines for not providing birth control coverage in their employee health plans.  This injunction will apply until a July 19th hearing in a district court, which should provide a more definite ruling.

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