KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Contraceptive Exemption For Religious Groups Finalized

The rule, issued under the health care law, attempts to quell the controversy by balancing the interests of women with the concerns of the Roman Catholic Church and other employers with religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptives. 

The New York Times: Contraceptives Stay Covered In Health Law
Despite strong resistance from religious organizations, the Obama administration said Friday that it was moving ahead with a rule requiring most employers to provide free insurance coverage of contraceptives for women, a decision that has touched off a legal and political battle likely to rage for another year. The final rule, issued under the new health care law, adopts a simplified version of an approach proposed by the government in February to balance the interests of women with the concerns of the Roman Catholic Church and other employers with religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptives (Pear, 6/28).

Los Angeles Times: Obama Administration Issues Regulations On Contraceptive Coverage
The Obama administration made a final attempt Friday to quell the controversy over a requirement in the president’s healthcare law that insurance plans offer contraceptive coverage to women, issuing regulations that exempt churches and religiously affiliated organizations from paying for the benefits (Levey, 6/28).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: HHS Seeks To Address Religious Employers’ Concerns In Contraceptive Coverage Final Rule
The Obama administration issued final rules Friday governing contraception coverage in the sweeping 2010 health care law that officials said more clearly respond to concerns from religious groups that object to this requirement. But it' unclear if the new rules will shield the administration from charges that requiring employers who oppose contraception services to pay for them for workers is a violation of employers’ religious freedom (Carey, 6/28).

Boston Globe: Contraceptive Exemptions Issued For Religious Groups
The Obama administration on Friday released its final rule determining contraceptive coverage under the federal health care law; religious organizations can gain an exemption from this coverage, but their employees will still get coverage for birth control with no cost-sharing due to some creative loopholes. "These employers, primarily houses of worship, may exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans for their employees and their dependents," states a press release from the Department of Health and Human Services. Other non-profit religious organizations -- such as Catholic hospitals, high schools, and universities -- also won’t have to pay for coverage for which they object to on religious grounds (Kotz, 6/28).

Politico: Obama Administration Finalizes Contraception Coverage Policy
The Obama administration on Friday finalized its health care reform policy requiring nearly all employers to provide coverage of contraceptives in their employee health insurance policy free of co-pays, digging in its heels against backlash from religious groups (Haberkorn, 6/28).

Reuters: U.S. Sets Birth Control Rule For With Religious Ties
The Obama administration on Friday made it final that employees of religiously affiliated, nonprofit institutions would receive insurance coverage for birth control amid mounting legal challenges to a rule in the recent healthcare law. The White House proposed in early 2012 an arrangement that allows universities, hospitals and other employers with a religious affiliation to avoid paying directly for contraceptives. Instead, insurance companies provide coverage and foot the bill under the law (Morgan, 6/28).

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