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Obama Offers Opt-Out For Religious Groups Over Contraceptive Mandate



For nonprofit religious organizations like hospitals and schools, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the administration will allow them to offer coverage that does not include contraception.

The Obama administration on Friday announced a broader opt-out for religious-affiliated groups that want to skirt the so-called contraceptive mandate, following through on a pledge last year to provide an “accommodation” in the face of complaints from Catholic schools and other organizations. 

The proposed regulations out Friday are not likely to satisfy all concerns about the ObamaCare rule requiring near-universal access to contraceptive coverage for employees. Businesses like Hobby Lobby, which sued the administration over the rule, would probably not be affected by the change because it is not technically a religious employer — though the owner of that company has objected on religious and moral grounds.

But for nonprofit religious organizations like hospitals and schools, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the administration will allow them to offer coverage that does not include contraception.

For those with insured plans, the insurer would be required to provide enrollees with “no-cost contraceptive coverage” through a separate policy.

For self-insured plans, a third-party administrator would work with an insurer to set up no-cost coverage through other policies.

Religious groups had said the old birth-control coverage rule violated their religious beliefs. Many filed lawsuits or said they would simply not comply.

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