The proposed rule released today delivers on the promise of the health care law to ensure women have insurance coverage for contraception, with no additional cost barriers. Contraception is an integral part of women’s health care, and this provision of the health care law is essential to ensuring that women’s access to the care will improve in the ways that Congress intended.
We’re very pleased that President Obama and the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) are continuing to stand strong in support of this policy which requires new insurance plans to cover contraceptive care without imposing additional costs, like co-pays.
Responding to organizations that want to deny insurance coverage for contraception to employees based on the employers’ religious beliefs, the administration has stated that it will not expand the universe of employers who are exempt from this coverage requirement. The rule also spells out the process that nonprofit religious employers and schools which are not exempt but oppose providing coverage for contraception can follow to make sure that their employees and students receive contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing.
HHS has said the coverage must be provided for employees seamlessly and lauded the agency for finding a way to accommodate the concerns of those nonprofit religious organizations that object to providing insurance coverage for contraception while keeping the focus on ensuring women can get the health services they need.
By eliminating the extra financial barriers to contraceptive care that women have faced for so many years – and the extra out of pocket costs that millions of women have been paying – the health care law has already started to make a concrete, positive difference in our lives, recognizing that the requirement went into effect for most insurance plans in August 2012. For women whose employers or schools delayed coming into compliance, as permitted by the one year postponement available to nonprofit religious organizations that objected, today’s announcement means that women who work for employers or are enrolled in schools that have a religious objection to contraception will soon be able to get the full insurance coverage for contraception, without co-payments, they are entitled to under the law.