The White House clarified on Thursday that closely held for-profit corporations refusing to provide contraceptive coverage will be required to inform their employees.
The clarification is a response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell. The decision allows closely held, for-profit corporations to refuse to provide health insurance coverage for contraception – a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – if the corporation’s owners claim that providing coverage would violate a sincerely held religious belief. The clarification is not a new regulation, as current law already requires that employers inform employees about changes in their health benefits.
“We are making clear that if a corporation like Hobby Lobby drops coverage of contraceptive services from its health plan, it must do so in the light of day by letting its workers and their families know,” said a senior Obama administration official.
Just last week, a minority of Senators blocked the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, a bill that would have reversed the Hobby Lobby decision and required all for-profit companies to provide contraceptive coverage as required by the ACA regardless of owners’ religious objections. The bill failed to gain the 60 votes needed to move to a floor vote, although it received the support of 56 Senators – including every Democrat and Republicans Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).
Media Resources: Huffington Post 7/21/14; US Department of Labor 7/17/14; Feminist Newswire 7/1/14, 7/17/14; US Senate 7/16/14