Monday, August 05, 2019

Preliminary Injunction Denied In Challenge To Conscience Provisions In Insurance Law

In Cedar Park Assembly of God of Kirkland, Washington v. Kreidler, (WD WA, Aug. 2, 2019), a Washington federal district court denied a preliminary injunction against a group of Washington state provisions that plaintiff claims requires it to pay for abortifacient contraceptive coverage for individuals in its health insurance plan. At issue is an Attorney General's Opinion that says the insurance commissioner may require insurance companies to to include the cost of prescription contraceptives in the rate setting actuarial analysis where an employer raises a conscientious objection to paying these costs directly as a part of it benefit package. The court found that plaintiff lacks standing to assert the claim at this point because:
Cedar Park has not provided evidence that insurance costs are in fact calculated or charged in a manner to which it has a religious objection...
The court also dismissed on ripeness grounds, saying that plaintiff "cites no communications from or statements of the State which could form the basis of Cedar Park’s belief that it will be subject to enforcement..." The court however allowed plaintiff to file an amended complaint contending that it is treated less favorably than religious organizations which are health care providers, carriers, and facilities.