New Rules on Religious Exemptions from Contraceptive Mandate

Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an interim finale rule for religious non-profits on a process for notification of  objection(s) to providing said coverage. HHS also issued a proposed rule, seeking comments on extending similar provisions to closely held for-profit organizations.

Closely held for profit organizations

In responses to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, HHS has issued proposed rules expanding the availability of the accommodation to include closely held for-profit entities that have religious objections to providing coverage for some or all contraceptive services.

HHS is currently seeking comments on how to define a closely held for-profit company and other steps. The current two approaches for defining a closely held for-profit company are:

  1. Privately held organization with limited number of owners; or
  2. Privately held organization with ownership being concentrated amongst minimum percentage.

Religious non-profits

The Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight issued the following comments on their website in regards to the topic:

“…in light of the Supreme Court’s recent interim order in a case involving Wheaton College, interim final regulations were published to establish another option for an eligible organization to avail itself of the accommodation.

Under the interim final regulations, an eligible organization may notify the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in writing of its religious objection to contraception coverage. HHS will then notify the insurer for an insured health plan, or the Department of Labor will notify the TPA for a self-insured plan, that the organization objects to providing contraception coverage and that the insurer or TPA is responsible for providing enrollees in the health plan separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan.

Regardless of whether the eligible organization self-certifies in accordance with the July 2013 final rules, or provides notice to HHS in accordance with the August 2014 IFR, the obligations of insurers and/or TPAs regarding providing or arranging separate payments for contraceptive services are the same, as discussed in this Fact Sheet. “

The newly proposed rules have already been met with reservation from religious non-profits as the act of opting out in effect provides authority to the government to require another party to provide the mandated coverage. There is speculation that the new rules may violate affected organizations rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

For both closely held organizations and religious non-profits we would anticipate continued potential legal action and rules development.

Linkedin Facebook Twitter Email
, ,

About Christopher Johnson

Christopher manages the consulting services department of J.W.Terrill providing regulatory, analytical, technical and wellness support to clients.

View all posts by Christopher Johnson

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.