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Certain religious organizations may not have to provide contraceptives

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Religious employers – primarily churches and other non-profits – will no longer have to provide contraceptive coverage if they have religious objections under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act if proposed amendments by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are implemented.

The department released the notice of proposed rulemaking filed Friday, seeking comment on the proposals by April 8. Under the proposed accommodations, the eligible organizations wouldn’t have to pay, contract or arrange for any contraceptive coverage if they object on religious grounds. But plan participants would receive contraceptive coverage through a separate individual health insurance policy without cost sharing or additional premiums, according to HHS.

The rules are available for viewing here.

The PPACA, enacted in March 2010, requires non-grandfathered group health plans and insurance issuers offering non-grandfathered group or individual health insurance coverage to provide certain preventative health services without imposing cost sharing, which includes preventive care and screening for women. Many religious organizations, such as schools and hospitals, objected to this provision and have filed lawsuits.

For-profit secular businesses have also challenged the requirement in court, but they would not be exempted from providing these areas of coverage under the mandate issued last week. The federal agencies involved in these rule changes say that the religious accommodations in related areas of federal law, such as the exemption for religious organizations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, are only available to nonprofit religious organizations.

A lawsuit filed by the University of Notre Dame last year challenging the requirement under the PPACA was dismissed in January in federal court.

On Jan. 30, however, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held that a private, secular company in southern Indiana does not have to provide its employees contraceptive and other coverage that conflict with the employer’s Catholic beliefs, pending the appeal in the lawsuit. The federal appellate court combined William D. Grote III, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, 13-1077, with a similar challenge out of Illinois.

Eligible organizations under this mandate will provide a self-certification to the health insurance issuer, or the organization would notify the third-party administrator in the case of self-insured group health plans, to work with a health insurance company to provide the separate coverage.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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