HHS Secretary Announces One-Year Delay for Nonprofits with Religious Beliefs in Complying with No-Cost Women’s Preventive Services


After receiving comments on the interim final rule requiring most health insurance plans to cover preventive services for women including recommended contraceptive services without copays, coinsurance or deductibles, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that nonprofit employers who, based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage, will be given an additional year, until Aug. 1, 2013, to comply with the new law.

HHS also released an amendment to the prevention regulation that allows religious institutions that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraception services.  This regulation is modeled on the most common accommodation for churches available in the majority of the 28 states that already require insurance companies to cover contraception.  The full text can be found at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-08-03/pdf/2011-19684.pdf.

HHS welcomes comment on this policy; comments are due on or before Sept. 30, 2012.

For more information on the HHS guidelines for expanding women’s preventive services, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/womensprevention08012011a.html.  The guidelines can be found at: www.hrsa.gov/womensguidelines/.

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