The California Report: Hobby Lobby Decision Has Limited Impact in California

The California Report: Hobby Lobby Decision Has Limited Impact in California

By April Dembosky

Most women in California won’t be affected by Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. The Christian owners of the craft store chain challenged the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that companies provide contraception coverage to their employees. The Court ruled that closely-held, for-profit companies can opt out if they object on religious grounds.

But the California law has gaps and health care advocates plan to use political momentum against the court’s ruling to push for further changes in the state law. The contraceptive equity act does not require companies to provide contraceptives at no charge to the patient, the way the Affordable Care Act does. A bill currently working its way through the state legislature would eliminate co-pays and other cost sharing for birth control. It would also prevent insurers from requiring women to “fail” cheaper birth control methods before paying for more expensive ones.

“There’s one insurer in California that makes women take oral contraceptive pills for three months before she can get access to the ring, when the ring might be the best method for her,” said Susan Berke Fogel of the National Health Law Program. “Or, others are imposing cost sharing on IUDs [intra-uterine devices], which makes it absolutely unaffordable.”

She believes the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby will embolden California lawmakers to pass the bill. Read the full article here. »

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