Despite Hobby Lobby Ruling, Contraceptive Coverage Remains Mostly Unaffected

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Despite the Supreme Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, most female employees — including those who work for corporations with religious objections to providing health insurance coverage for contraceptives — will have access to contraceptives with no out-of-pocket cost, according to a National Public Radio report.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 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.

In the recent Supreme Court case, craft chain Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties — two family-owned companies — claimed the mandate violates their religious liberty under the First Amendment and a 1993 federal law — the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Hobby Lobby is owned by Evangelical Christians and Conestoga Wood Specialties is owned by Mennonites. 

In a 5-4 decision, the justices decided the rights of female employees to receive the full contraceptive coverage promised by the PPACA are trumped by the religious rights of company owners.

However, the PPACA requires nearly all health insurance plans to provide preventive care coverage with no out-of-pocket cost to consumers, and, even after the ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, all FDA-approved methods of birth control are considered preventive care under the PPACA.

Therefore, even though the Supreme Court did say certain "closely-held" corporations that assert a religious objection to the PPACA's contraception mandate can not be required to provide contraceptive coverage, women who purchase insurance through the public exchanges, purchase insurance on the private market or receive their contraceptive care through Medicaid are unaffected by the court's decision, according to a Washington Post report. 

More Articles on the Hobby Lobby Case:

Supreme Court: Employers Can Deny Contraceptive Coverage 
SCOTUS Issues Second Hit to Contraceptive Mandate 
Legislation Introduced to Override Hobby Lobby Decision 

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