Health Care Reform Blog: HHS Releases Proposed Rules on Contraceptive Coverage for Religious Organizations

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Today HHS released proposed rules outlining how religious organizations that object to contraception on religious grounds can comply with the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that non-grandfathered health plans cover contraception without cost-sharing. The rules provide non-profit religious organizations with an accommodation allowing their health plan members to have separate individual contraceptive coverage with no co-pays and at no cost to the religious organization.

Under the accommodation, the religious organization’s insurance company or third party administrator would arrange for a separate insurance policy covering contraceptives only to be offered to plan participants at no additional cost. For a fully-insured plan, the insurer could not charge for this separate contraceptive coverage and HHS believes there should be no additional cost to the insurer because of savings realized under the underlying group health plan as a result of the contraceptive use. For self-funded plans, the insurer could also not charge a premium for the coverage; however, the cost to the insurer would be offset from future Exchange user fees charged to insurers.

More information on the proposed rules is available at http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2013pres/02/20130201a.html