The Trump Administration has finalized regulations that significantly broaden employers' ability to be exempt from the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraceptive coverage requirement. The regulations open the door for any employer or college/ university with a student health plan with objections to contraceptive coverage based on religious beliefs to qualify for an exemption. Any employer, except publicly traded corporations, with moral objections to contraception also qualify for an exemption. Their female employees, dependents, and students will no longer be entitled to coverage for the full range of FDA approved contraceptives at no cost. These final regulations are very similar to the October 2017 Interim Final Regulations that were issued without an opportunity for public notice and comment, as required under the Administrative Procedure Act. Four nonprofit advocacy groups and 8 states filed lawsuits challenging those regulations. In the cases led by California and Pennsylvania, the federal courts issued preliminary injunctions in December 2017, blocking the enforcement of these regulations pending the outcome of the litigation. These decisions have been appealed to the 3rd and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeal. The status of these lawsuits is unclear now that the final regulations have been published. In any event, it is likely that there will be new legal challenges to the final regulations.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright holder. Further use of the material is subject to CC BY license. (More information)