Federal regulators are looking into the feasibility of creating a new type of health benefit: birth control coverage that would be free for the insureds.
Regulators are asking whether insurers could really offer the product, and whether the existence of the product would resolve religious employers’ objections to the Obama administration’s current approach to administering a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services birth control coverage mandate.
The “tri-agency” team that oversees administration of Affordable Care Act laws, regulations and programs — the Internal Revenue Service, the Employee Benefits Security Administration and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — talk about the proposal in a new contraceptive services coverage proposal.
The agencies are preparing to publish the request for information in the Federal Register Friday. Comments will be due 60 days after the official publication date.
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HHS lists David Mlawsky as its contact person. The employee benefits administration lists Elizabeth Schumacher and Suzanne Adelman as contacts, and the IRS lists Karen Levin as a contact.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito proposed birth-control-only coverage in March, during oral arguments on Zubik et al. v. Burwell et al. (Case Number 14-1418).
The Affordable Care Act requires nongrandfathered health plans to cover a standard package of preventive services without imposing deductibles, co-payments or other cost-sharing costs on the patients getting the services. Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius ruled, based on recommendations from the HHS Health Resources and Services Administration, that the package should include coverage for contraceptive products and services.