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HHS issues proposed contraception coverage rule

12:54 PM, Feb 1, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) -- Women who work for religious-affiliated organizations can have contraceptive services under their health insurance through separate coverage while allowing their employers not to violate their religious beliefs by exempting them from paying for it, according to a proposed regulation issued Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Last August, when the government announced that insurance plans must cover women's contraceptive services with no co-pays under the 2010 health care law, some employers - churches, religious schools and hospitals - took issue with being forced to provide a service that goes against their beliefs.

"Today, the administration is taking the next step in providing women across the nation with coverage of recommended preventive care at no cost, while respecting religious concerns," said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press statement. "We will continue to work with faith-based organizations, women's organizations, insurers and others to achieve these goals."

Under the proposed rule, religious organizations would inform their insurer of their exemption, and then the insurer would inform the organization's employees that the insurer would provide them with no-cost contraceptive coverage through a separate insurance policy not connected to the religious employer.

The proposed rules are here: http://www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx

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