On August 16, 2021, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and the Treasury (collectively, the Departments) issued a frequently asked question (FAQ) regarding enforcement of the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The ACA requires non-grandfathered health plans to cover certain women’s preventive health services without cost-sharing, which includes all FDA-approved contraceptives. On November 15, 2018, the Departments published final regulations concerning religious and moral exemptions and accommodations regarding coverage of certain preventive services.
The 2018 final regulations expand exemptions for entities with religious or moral objections to the contraceptive coverage requirement to which their health plans would otherwise be subject. Religious exemptions apply to certain churches, houses of worship, and other church-affiliated institutions allowing them to choose not to contract, arrange, pay, or refer for any contraceptive coverage.
On July 8, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld these regulations as a valid exercise of power under the Trump administration.
In summary, the Departments intend to issue regulations within six months to amend the 2018 final regulations. Keep in mind, the FAQ does not provide any additional detail or specify the types of changes that may be made.
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