New Rules to Ensure Women’s Access to Contraceptive Coverage Leave More Work to be Done

New Rules to Ensure Women’s Access to Contraceptive Coverage Leave More Work to be Done

WASHINGTON—Today, the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services issued a final rule to address the wrongly decided U.S. Supreme Court decision—Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.—which sanctioned discrimination against women. The final rule seeks to provide impacted women access to all FDA-approved contraceptive methods at no cost directly from their insurance company. The rule, however, uses an overly broad definition of the types of employers who can refuse to cover contraceptive methods in their employee health plans.

“The Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby was wrong. We appreciate the Administration’s efforts to step in with this final rule, and ensure that women have access to contraception that they would otherwise lack because of Hobby Lobby. We are, however, disappointed with the final rule,” said Elizabeth G. Taylor, NHeLP executive director. “The Administration’s definition of the ‘closely held for-profit entities’ that can opt out of the contraceptive coverage requirement is overly broad. Now, more than ever, the Administration must engage in rigorous monitoring and enforcement to ensure that women can access the contraception that they need and to which they are entitled under these final rules.”

“A woman’s employer shouldn’t be allowed to make health care decisions for her,” said Dipti Singh, staff attorney and project director of the NHeLP Reproductive Health Data and Insurance Accountability Project. “The final rule seeks to address the harms brought out by the Supreme Court’s decision, but falls short by expanding the number of employers who would be allowed to opt out of providing contraceptive coverage to women who need and want it, and failing to include new vigorous enforcement mechanisms to help women overcome this new burden on health care access.”

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