The court’s ruling expands companies that can ask to be exempt from covering birth control

Just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a major provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that limited the types of employers who would be exempt from covering birth control on moral or religious grounds, the American College of Physicians condemned the ruling.

Under the ACA, employers are required to provide birth control coverage at no cost to patients, unless they cite religious reasons for the denial.

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires nearly all employers to offer health insurance that covers access to a wide array of contraceptive methods,” said Jack Ende, MD, MACP, ACP president in a statement. “The new rule will significantly broaden the type of companies and organizations that can request exemptions. This could lead to many American women who currently receive no-cost contraception having to pay out of pocket for their medication.”

The court’s ruling, the ACP noted, is an interim final rule, meaning this change is effective immediately. The physicians’ group voiced their objection, noting that this ruling doesn’t allow stakeholders or the public to offer input and recommendations and allows any employer — from religious groups to large, publicly traded companies — to argue moral or religious objections in order to opt out of providing coverage for contraception.

“Our concern is grounded on our long-standing policy that all Americans should have coverage for evidence-based medical services, including preventive services like contraception,” Ende emphasized. “We are concerned that allowing employers to carve-out exemptions to the ACA’s requirements that health insurance plans cover evidence-based preventive services without cost-sharing, including but not necessarily limited to contraception, will create substantial barriers to patients receiving appropriate medical care as recommended by their physicians.”

As the ACP noted, contraception is one of eight benefits listed as essential under the ACA, along with others that “include breastfeeding equipment, HPV testing, and domestic violence screenings.”

“We urge the administration, Congress, and other policymakers to work together to develop a remedy that ensures that women are not denied access to no-cost contraception, and more broadly, to ensure that all Americans will have access to coverage for evidence-based medical care as,” the ACP wrote.

Candace Hoffmann, Managing Editor, BreakingMED™

Cat ID: 191

Topic ID: 83,191,730,191,192,150,151,418,590,925