Oct
02
2013

The Contraceptive Mandate: Strategic Planning for Religious Organizations

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), employers with group health plans must provide preventive health services without charging a co-pay, coinsurance payment, or a deductible.  On August 1, 2011, the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) adopted guidelines outlining the required preventive health care for women. That guidance requires coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptive services, including the “morning after” pill and the “week after” pill. When this HHS guidance was initially issued, many religious organizations objected to the contraceptive coverage requirement on the ground that this coverage was in direct conflict with their religious beliefs. HHS subsequently amended the regulations to exempt entirely organizations described in Internal Revenue Code sections 6033(a)(1) and 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii). These sections include organizations that may be classified for tax code purposes as churches, conventions or associations of churches, integrated auxiliaries or religious orders.  For those objecting nonprofit religious organizations that do not qualify for the church employer exemption, HHS has recently finalized the rules for an “accommodation.”

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