Religious Exemption from Contraceptive Coverage

Post Date: 11/14/18
Last Updated: 11/14/18


Cross References
- T.D. 9840, November 7, 2018
- T.D. 9841, November 7, 2018

Final regulations have been issued concerning the Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandated health insurance coverage that requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to cover contraceptive services. The primary purpose of the final regulations is to protect sincerely held moral objections of certain entities and individuals with regard to the requirement that health plans cover certain contraceptive services with no cost-sharing, which was created through regulations issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) pursuant to authority granted by the ACA. The final regulations allow these entities and individuals with moral objections to be exempt from the requirement to cover contraceptive services.

Exemptions apply to a group health plan established or maintained by an objecting organization, or health insurance coverage offered or arranged by an objection organization, to the extent of the objection. Where an exemption encompasses a plan or coverage established or maintained by a church, an integrated auxiliary of a church, a convention or association of churches, a religious order, a nonprofit organization, or other non-governmental organization or association, the exemption applies to each employer, organization, or plan sponsor that adopts the plan. An entity must object, based on its sincerely held religious beliefs to its establishing, maintaining, providing, offering, or arranging for either coverage or payments for some or all contraceptive services, or a plan, issuer, or their party administrator that provides or arranges such coverage or payments.

The regulations also provide accommodations for an optional process to allow entities that qualify for the exemption to choose to omit from their plan contraceptive coverage, but allow the issuer or third party administrator to arrange for the persons covered by their plan to receive contraceptive coverage or payments.
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