ACA Contraception Coverage Offers Faith Groups Olive Branch
President Obama is offering workarounds in implementing mandates on insurance coverage under the ACA for religious non-profits. Women will still have access to birth control, but there will exist a wall of sorts between that access provision via the insurance company and religious groups comprising healthcare services in the non-profit sector. Originally, churches and other groups that primarily employ those of their own faith were exempt from ACA provisions on guaranteed access. Religious-affiliated groups had to comply, however. Until now, that is.
Under the new proposed rules, such non-profit religious organizations would have to ensure that enrollees of their health care plans get full contraception coverage, but they would not have to pay for it — a health insurer would pay for it. …. The faith-based organizations in question would have to notify their insurer or third-party administrator if they objected to paying for contraception costs on faith-based grounds. The insurer would then have to provide enrollees with no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies.
The ACA requires that employers provide health insurance that includes family planning as a preventive service. This rule has a 60-day comment period and will be ready for implementation in 6 months. Perhaps the broader questions remain: how will this provision be funded, and what about owners of private business who object to contraceptive services?
Michael L. Douglas, MD, MBA is the editor and proprietor of Doctor Pundit, one of the blogosphere's leading physician blogs and healthcare policy blogs. He is a geriatrician and board-certified family physician who serves as the clinical director of long term care services at the Saint Peter (MN) Regional Treatment Center, the state's inpatient forensic psychiatric facility. Dr. Douglas is ...