Grantee/Partner News

Obama Administration Finalizes Women’s Preventive Health Benefits Rule, Does Not Expand Religious Exemption

January 20, 2012

Grantee News From NFPRHA

Today (June 20, 2012), the White House announced that the final rule implementing the women’s preventive health services benefit will not expand the religious exemption for contraception. In August 2011, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an interim final rule requiring that commercial insurance plans cover a number of women’s preventive health services, including contraception, without patient co-pays. The interim final rule included an exemption for religious organizations that primarily employ persons who share the religious tenets of the organization.

NFPRHA is pleased with the Obama administration’s decision to stand up for women and against the extreme pressure levied by some religious organizations to expand the exemption. The final rule, which will be released at a later date, will keep the original definition of a religious organization rather than expand the exemption, but will give religious employers that do not currently cover contraception in their insurance plans an additional year to comply with the contraceptive coverage requirement.

Last month, NFPRHA activated its members to make calls to their congressional representatives and the White House, asking them to stand with millions of women who need access to women’s preventive health services and against unnecessary restrictions on birth control. Your hard work paid off and, as a result, millions of women will gain coverage of all family planning services – including contraception – they need to maintain good health.

A statement by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is available on the HHS website.

Shared by Judy DeSarno, Buffett Fdn.

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