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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. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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