Supreme Court Ruling Limits Insurer and Employer Contraceptive Obligations

    View Author July 2020

    Earlier this month the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a regulation adopted under the Trump administration significantly cutting back the requirement that insurers and group health plans provide coverage for contraceptives without cost sharing under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    Because of the ruling in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, employers, including publicly traded companies, with religious or moral objections are not required to provide contraceptive coverage under the health plans offered to employees. Previously, only churches and religious orders were excepted from the contraceptive coverage requirement while nonprofit religious organizations and private for-profit entities that objected to contraception for religious reasons could opt out of the requirement. Now, all are excepted from the federal requirement based on religious or moral objections and insurers are relieved of their obligation, under the accommodation process, to provide contraceptive coverage to employees through an alternative health care plan. The ruling also means that colleges and universities with religious or moral objections need not provide contraceptive coverage in student health plans, and that individuals who object on religious or moral grounds may seek to obtain insurance coverage in the individual market without contraceptive benefits (except as may be required by state law).