Contraceptive Coverage

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has issued new enforcement guidance explaining when an employer’s policies affecting pregnant employees might violate federal law.  The new guidance appears in an updated chapter of the EEOC’s enforcement manual, and in a related set of questions and answers.  Among other topics, the new guidance addresses the rights of pregnant employees under employer health plans, fringe benefit programs, and other benefit plans.
Continue Reading EEOC Issues New Guidance on Pregnancy Benefits

Final regulations issued recently clarify and confirm the contraceptive coverage exemption and accommodation for religious institutions.  The Affordable Care Act generally requires non-grandfathered group health plans and insurance policies to cover the cost of contraceptives.  A religious employer, however, is entirely exempt from this requirement under the final regulations and under related guidelines issued by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The final regulations also confirm that certain other organizations with religious objections to the coverage are eligible for an “accommodation.”  Under the accommodation, the organization does not need to provide the coverage under its health plan, but its insurer or third party administrator does.  Student health plans arranged by eligible organizations are also eligible for the religious accommodation.  The regulations, which were issued by the Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services, explain who ultimately pays for coverage under the accommodation.
Continue Reading Final Rules Confirm Contraceptive Coverage Exemption and Accommodation for Religious Institutions