Proposed Amendment to HHS Regulation

Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act


The Obama administration has decided that, as a matter of public policy, individual women should not have to pay for “FDA approved contraceptive services,” which include surgical sterilization, contraceptives, and embryocides.  The reasons offered for this policy are mainly economic and socio-political.

A regulation was written by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for this purpose. The regulation requires all group health care plans (the kind of plan usually offered by businesses or oganizations) to offer coverage and fully pay for “preventive services” identified in Section 147.130 (reproduced below, in part).  Businesses with 50 or more employees must offer such coverage by 2014, or face penalties. Health insurance issuers (like insurance companies) must also make available group and individual plans that fully pay for “preventive services.”

The regulation sparked widespread protests and opposition from religious groups and, as of February, 2013, had generated 47 lawsuits launched by over 130 plaintiffs.  11 of 14 federal courts hearing the suits issued temporary injunctions to protect plaintiffs against the regulation.

In response, the Obama administration has issued proposed amendments to the regulation.

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