Women will have insurance coverage for birth control regardless of whether their employer claims a religious exemption, the federal government announced today. In a new rule published this morning by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor, the government specified which employers can claim the religious exemptions granted to companies like Hobby Lobby in a Supreme Court case last year.
Privately held companies with a leadership of five or fewer people can refuse to pay for birth control coverage, but the Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance companies are obliged to provide birth control regardless. Companies that qualify are also required to have their board of directors adopt a resolution that spells out their religious opposition to providing birth control.
It sounds like a win-win but The Wall Street Journal writes:
Catholic bishops and other religious leaders have said the revised system for them is inadequate because it still uses the insurance plan they set up to provide something they believe to be wrong.
They have challenged the alternative system in the courts. Many of those cases are still working their way through the legal system. The federal government has prevailed in most lawsuits where decisions have been issued to date.
The new regulations come just a few days after a report in the journal Health Affairs found that out-of-pocket spending on birth control has dropped about 38 percent for pills and about 68 percent for IUDs (Intrauterine Devices) since the Affordable Care Act was put in place.
Across the U.S., the battle over religious exemptions continues, and not just on healthcare. Read Fusion's in-depth look at other cases where religious exemptions have not overridden peoples' rights.