The Obama Administration has published its final rule on health insurance coverage of contraception. “Religious employers” are supposed to be happy with the Obama decree that insurance companies will provide contraception “at no cost.”
We all know that there’s no such thing as “no cost.” Everyone will “share” the cost, since everyone will be forced to buy health insurance.
Here’s the letter, thanks to one of the Conscience groups I follow:
From: Lauren Aronson
Director, Office of Legislation
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Re: Administration Issues Final Rules on Contraception Coverage and Religious Organizations
Today, the Obama administration issued final rules that balance the goal of providing women with coverage for recommended preventive care – including contraceptive services prescribed by a health care provider – with no cost-sharing, with the goal of respecting the concerns of non-profit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage. The final rules reflect public feedback received in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in February 2013.
Today’s final rules finalize the proposed simpler definition of “religious employer” for purposes of the exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement in response to concerns raised by some religious organizations. These employers, primarily houses of worship, may exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans for their employees and their dependents.
The final rules also lay out the accommodation for other non-profit religious organizations – such as non-profit religious hospitals and institutions of higher education – that object to contraceptive coverage. Under the accommodation these organizations will not have to contract, arrange, pay for or refer contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds, but such coverage is separately provided to women enrolled in their health plans at no cost. The approach taken in the final rules is similar to, but simpler than, that taken in the proposed rules, and responds to comments made by many stakeholders.
With respect to an insured health plan, including a student health plan, the non-profit religious organization provides notice to its insurer that it objects to contraception coverage. The insurer then notifies enrollees in the health plan that it is providing them separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for them for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan.
Similarly, with respect to self-insured health plans, the non-profit religious organization provides notice to its third party administrator that objects to contraception coverage. The third party administrator then notifies enrollees in the health plans that it is providing or arranging separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for them for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan. The final rules provide more details on the accommodation for both insurers and third party administrators.
To view the Final Rule: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2013-15866_PI.pdf
To view technical guidance on the temporary enforcement safe harbor visit: http://cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Regulations-and-Guidance/Downloads/preventive-services-guidance-6-28-2013.pdf
To view the self-certification form for eligible organizations visit: http://cms.gov/CCIIO/Resources/Forms-Reports-and-Other-Resources/index.html#Prevention
If you have any questions, please contact the CMS Office of Legislation. Thank you