Today’s final rules finalize the proposed simpler definition of “religious employer” for purposes of the exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement in response to concerns raised by some religious organizations. These employers, primarily houses of worship, may exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans for their employees and their dependents.
The final rules also lay out the accommodation for other non-profit religious organizations - such as non-profit religious hospitals and institutions of higher education - that object to contraceptive coverage. Under the accommodation these organizations will not have to contract, arrange, pay for or refer contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds, but such coverage is separately provided to women enrolled in their health plans at no cost. The approach taken in the final rules is similar to, but simpler than, that taken in the proposed rules, and responds to comments made by many stakeholders.
With respect to an insured health plan, including a student health plan, the non-profit religious organization provides notice to its insurer that it objects to contraception coverage. The insurer then notifies enrollees in the health plan that it is providing them separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan.
Similarly, with respect to self-insured health plans, the non-profit religious organization provides notice to its third party administrator that objects to contraception coverage. The third party administrator then notifies enrollees in the health plans that it is providing or arranging separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for them for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan.According to a Fact Sheet on the new rules eliminate the requirements that a "religious employer" have the inculcation of religious values as its purpose; primarily employ persons who share its religious tenets; and primarily serve persons who share its religious tenets. For other non-profits, coverage directly from the insurer is available for any organization that:
on account of religious objections, opposes providing coverage for some or all of any contraceptive services otherwise required to be covered; is organized and operates as a nonprofit entity; holds itself out as a religious organization; and self-certifies that it meets these criteria in accordance with the provisions of the final regulations.