Final HHS Rules: Same as Proposed Rules
The Department of Health and Human Services released its final rule for contraception coverage and religious organizations this afternoon, having made no changes to the proposed rule.
Saying that the rules “balance the goal of providing women with coverage for recommended preventive care… with no cost-sharing, with the goal of respecting the concerns of non-profit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage.” the HHS defines a “religious employer” as, in most cases, a “house of worship.”
Certain non-profit religious organizations will be able to exclude the coverage but, as originally proposed, the insurance companies they engage will have to provide separate coverage to all female employees and their female dependents so that, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says, “women get the care they need, regardless of where they work.” For-profit companies must provide the coverage.
The rules were issued following a public comment period that generated an unprecedented number of comments (some, including a massive one-day dump of comments, generated by pro-abortion groups and abortion businesses). Religious non-profits were granted a one-year extension from providing coverage for the items in question while the rule was being adjusted to “accommodate” them; that extension ends August 1st.