On Friday the Obama administration announced that non-profit religious groups don’t have to pay for their employees’ birth control as stipulated under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The government will broaden the various types of organizations that are now eligible for exemption, which will include many Catholic hospitals and universities. The new rules require insurers who provide healthcare coverage for religious non-profits to cover the costs of birth control without charging the non-profit organization or the workers. Private insurers will now cover the birth control through separate individual plans with the insurance company covering the costs. This can prove to be a headache for those women who have to jump through various hoops just to receive their contraceptives.
The new rules “would limit any accomodations to non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious.” Meaning, for-profit businesses still have to cover the cost of birth control for their employees. Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said
“This proposal does nothing to change the scope of religious employer exemption…The proposal has nothing to do with millions of family businesses and owners who are having their rights violated by the mandate and are currently in litigation.”
Various health insurance companies are evaluating the proposal. However, covering birth control can prove to be a cost neutral endeavor. The reason being that providing contraceptives is much cheaper than covering costs associated with giving birth.
Those non-profit institutions which provide their own health insurance to employees, will have to go through a third party in order to get coverage for birth control. Those insurers’ higher cost would be compensated by lower fees if they participate in the state insurance exchange set to begin January 1, 2014.