The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires non-grandfathered group health plans to cover preventive services at no cost. For women this includes all FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity. While the earlier guidance provided an exemption for employers who objected to such benefits because of religious reasons, a “religious employer” was defined very narrowly. Under this narrow definition, a religious employer is one that:

  1. Has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose
  2. Primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets
  3. Primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets
  4. Is a nonprofit organization described in Code Sections 6033(a)(1) and 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Code (These last two Code Sections refer to churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches, as well as the exclusively religious activities of any religious order)