Contraceptive Mandate Changes

On Oct. 6, 2017, the Departments of Labor (DOL), Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Treasury (Departments) issued two interim final rules expanding certain exemptions from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive coverage mandate.

The first interim final rule expands the availability of the exemption for employers that object to providing contraceptive coverage based on their religious beliefs. This exemption may apply to all types of nongovernmental employers, including:

  • Churches, integrated church auxiliaries, conventions or associations of churches, or religious orders;
  • Nonprofit organizations;
  • For-profit entities, regardless of whether they are closely held;
  • Institutions of higher education; and
  • Any other nongovernmental employers.

This exemption also applies to health insurance issuers offering group or individual insurance coverage that have sincerely-held religious or moral beliefs objecting to contraceptive or sterilization coverage.

The second interim final rule provides an additional exemption for certain employers that object to providing contraceptive coverage based on their moral convictions (but not religious beliefs). This exemption is narrower in scope than the exemption based on religious objections. It may only apply to the following types of nongovernmental employers:

  • Nonprofit organizations;
  • Privately held for-profit entities; and
  • Institutions of higher education.

Health insurance issuers offering group or individual insurance coverage that have sincerely-held moral objections to providing contraceptive or sterilization coverage may also qualify for this exemption. The Departments are requesting comment on whether this moral objection exemption should also be extended to all for-profit entities (regardless of whether they are closely held or publicly traded) and nonfederal governmental employers, such as local government hospitals.

This guidance, which is effective immediately, significantly expands the number of employers that are eligible for an exemption from the contraceptive coverage mandate.

Contact your NEEBCo representative with questions.

New Regulations Expand Exemptions from the Contraceptive Mandate