Contraceptive Regulations for Closely Held For-Profits and Religious Non-Profits Issued
August 25, 2014
Two regulations on contraceptive coverage were issued on August 22 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Treasury.
- Proposed regulations provide initial guidance about how certain closely held for-profit organizations can exclude some or all contraceptive coverage.
- Interim final regulations allow eligible organizations to communicate their decision to opt out of contraceptive coverage directly to HHS rather than to their insurer or third-party administrator (TPA).
Closely Held For-Profit Companies
In the June 30 Hobby Lobby decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that closely held for-profit corporations cannot be required to cover contraceptives that violate the owners’ religious beliefs. The proposed regulations provide some guidance related to that decision and also seek additional input.
The proposed regulations would allow certain closely held for-profit organizations to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage. In these situations, insurers or TPAs would provide contraceptive coverage at no cost, the same way they currently provide coverage for religious non-profit organizations that opt out of contraceptive coverage.
The proposed regulations seek input on how to define a closely held for-profit organization that would be eligible to opt out. Two alternative proposed definitions are:
- Not publicly traded, and ownership is limited to a certain number of owners; or
- Not publicly traded, and a minimum percentage of ownership is concentrated among a certain number of owners
The regulations seek input to finalize these definitions as well as comments on the process for documenting and communicating the decision to opt out. There is a 60-day comment period.
Contraceptive Accommodation/Opt Out: Self-Certification Form and Alternative Notification
Some religious non-profit organizations such as charities, hospitals and schools have objected to signing the current self-certification form required to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage. The interim final regulations allow eligible organizations to notify HHS in writing of their objection to contraceptive coverage rather than completing the form. Eligible organizations may still choose to use the self-certification form.
Once HHS receives this information, HHS (or the DOL for self-funded plans) will notify the insurer or TPA. The requirement that insurers and TPAs provide contraceptive coverage at no cost to the employer or plan participants remains the same. A model notice that can be submitted to HHS was provided, although use of the model notice is not required.
This change is effective immediately even though comments may be submitted for 60 days.
Review the Model Notice that can be used use to inform HHS of religious objections to providing contraceptive coverage
Read the HHS Press Release about these two regulations
View the Fact Sheet that summarizes all current regulations related to contraceptive coverage
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