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HHS contraceptive-coverage mandate foes flock to Supreme Court

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Nonprofit religious groups have filed at least five petitions asking the U.S. Supreme Court to free them from a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation requiring them to notify HHS if they have decided not to cover contraceptive services.

Marcia Coyle has covered the petitions in an article in The National Law Journal, a publication owned by ALM, the parent company of LifeHealthPro.

Kathleen Sebelius, the former HHS secretary, outraged many religious groups in 2012, when she adopted an Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recommendation to put birth control benefits in the basic package of preventive services. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires all PPACA-compliant major medical policies, and most employer-sponsored group plans, to cover the preventive services package without imposing deductibles or other cost-sharing requirements on the patients.

Employers that want an exemption from the birth control benefits mandate must notify HHS. HHS has said it will use an alternative process to provide birth control benefits for the affected employees.

HHS says the notice requirement imposes no significant burden on the affected employers. The petitioners say the requirement violates their freedom of consicence

Te read Coyle’s coverage of the Supreme Court petitions, click here.