Obamacare and Birth Control

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The Affordable Care Act—colloquially known as Obamacare—featured at least one highly controversial aspect (OK, maybe more than one). The Act mandated that private health insurance plans would offer birth control and some other preventive reproductive services without co-pays or deductibles. Thus, in order for the new law's birth control coverage to apply to you, you must have private health insurance.

Specifically, under the Affordable Care Act employers who provide insurance plans with more than 50 employees must include contraceptives coverage or face fines of up to $100 a day for each employee. There are however exemptions, and these include houses of worship other nonprofit religious and church-affiliated organizations, such as universities, hospitals and charities that are fundamentally opposed to birth control. In such cases, these organizations do not have to pay for contraception for their employees. Those employees within those organizations that want birth control can still get it through either insurance companies or third-party administrators.

For Profit Companies

The exemption does not extend to any private, for-profit business that might be owned by someone who is opposed to birth control and therefore does not want to comply.

When some companies became aware of this, the lawsuits began to fly. Several dozen lawsuits were filed in the summer of 2013 and are on-going. Many legal experts expect the Supreme Court to rule on this matter in their upcoming term.

Part of the recent government shutdown came from the fact that the US House of Representatives wanted to include a provision in the Affordable Care Act that would have allowed private companies to be exempt from these fines.

Other Female Health Benefits

The Affordable Care Act also requires private insurance companies to cover several preventive reproductive services. These include Pap tests and cancer screenings, diabetes screening and prenatal care—all without having to make a co-pay.

Patience, Patients

The Affordable Care Act is just getting underway, and can be very confusing so patients are urged to check out healthcare.gov for more information, including state-to-state information and how their specific situation will apply.


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