Updated Regulations Permit Denial of Contraception Coverage

Certain employers will now be allowed to deny contraceptive and sterilization services to employees covered by their health insurance plans based on religious and non-religious moral objections. These employers include certain nonprofit organizations (including those that are publicly held), small business, and individuals with non-religious “moral objections” to such services.

Moral convictions are defined as those that:

  • Are deeply and sincerely held;
  • Are purely ethical or moral in source and content;
  • Impose a duty; and
  • Occupy a place “parallel to that filled by […] God”.

The so-called “moral convictions exemption” applies to nonprofit organizations, closely held businesses, institutions of education, health insurance providers whose services are provided to such exempt organizations, and individuals with cooperation from their employers.

In addition, the regulations clarified the reach of religious exemptions. These exemptions are for certain organizations whose sincerely held religious beliefs are opposed to contraceptive and sterilization measures. They apply to non-government plan sponsors, nonprofit organizations, for-profit entities, higher education, individual employers willing to provide individual plans to employees based on their religious beliefs, and insurance providers who issue plans for the exempt entities listed above.

For answers to questions regarding these new regulations, please contact your Employers Council representative.