Administration offers workaround to Hobby Lobby decision

The Obama administration is moving forward with regulations that would allow the government to cover contraceptives for female employees who are employed by companies that have religious objections to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's contraception requirements, according to a report from The Hill.

The PPACA requires employers to include a set of preventive services in their employees' healthcare plans if they offer healthcare benefits. The Obama administration included FDA-approved contraceptives in the list of mandatory preventive services. There is no provision in the law that exempts for-profit companies from providing contraceptives, even if they are owned by religious families.PresidentObama

In June, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled business owners may refuse to provide their female employees with insurance coverage for contraceptives if the owners have religious objects to certain forms of birth control, in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Burwell.

As a way to ensure female employees still receive full contraceptive coverage, effective immediately, faith-affiliated hospitals, charities and colleges can notify the government in writing that they have religious objection to certain contraceptives. Once the objection is provided, the government will step in and instruct the organization's insurer or third-party administrator to provide the contraceptive coverage at no cost to the employers. 

The administration is also asking for comment on whether it should offer the accommodation that allows nonprofit organizations to opt out of the contraceptive coverage to closely held for-profit businesses.

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