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The Obama administration has released a final rule regarding female contraceptive coverage under health care plans offered by religious groups, MedPage Today reports. The rule – a provision of the Afforable Care Act – takes effect January 1.
The rule is similar to those proposed by Health and Human Services last year. While churches themsevles are exempt from covering birth control, hospitals, schools, and other organizations with religious affiliations are not.
What has changed is the definition of “religious employer", to better facilitate churches that may hire or serve individuals outside their denomination. The final rule eliminates requirements that a religious employer:
As for other faith-based groups, an insurance company must provide no-cost contraceptive coverage if notified by the group of its religious objection. In compensation, HHS will reduce the fees that insurers must pay to participate in the ACA’s federally-run health insurance exchanges.
Self-funded groups need to make arrangements to provide coverage through a separate health plan, and their third-party administrator must notify enrollees of coverage availability.