OBAMA ADMINISTRATION UNVEILS A COMPROMISE PLAN ON CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE IN HEALTH CARE REFORM LAW

The Obama Administration released a proposed compromise plan on February 1, 2013 regarding how contraception will be covered under the healthcare reform law.

Under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, contraception is included as a free preventative service.  Under the original rule, religious groups that employ mostly people of their own faith were exempt from this rule; however, universities and Catholic hospitals were not included in this exemption.

Under the proposed compromise plan, an exempt organization would be one that (1) opposes providing coverage for some or all of the contraceptive services required to be covered under the health reform law on account of religious objections; (2) is organized and operates as a nonprofit entity; (3) holds itself out as a religious organization, and (4) self-certifies that it meets the above-listed criteria and specifies the contraceptive services for which it objects providing coverage.

Under the proposal, employees of such employers would receive contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies without cost sharing or additional premiums.

It is unclear if any of the original opponents of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions on contraceptive coverage will approve of the new proposal.

The Administration is seeking comment on the proposal through April 8, 2013.

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