Final Rules Issued on Coverage of Contraceptives Under Preventive Services
The proposed rules from HHS, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration issued earlier this year used an “accommodation” standard in order to apply the requirement to cover preventive services without cost-sharing, including women’s contraceptive services to nonprofit religious organizations, such as hospitals and universities affiliated with religious groups that object to contraceptive coverage. The final rules recently issued and to be published this week, maintain the accommodation standard. A “religious employer” would generally not be required to cover any contraceptive services that it objects to on religious grounds. Instead, coverage for contraceptive services would be provided without cost-sharing to these organizations’ employees through separate individual health insurance policies provided directly by plan’s insurer (if the plan is fully-insured) or through the plan’s third-party administrator (if the plan is self-insured). A religious employer generally includes churches, other houses of worship, and affiliated organizations, regardless of the religious affiliation of their served communities or employees.