Contraceptive Coverage/Preventive Services
More than 100 lawsuits have been filed challenging the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive coverage requirement, brought primarily by for-profit corporations or nonprofit organizations which object to covering some or all contraceptives in their employer-sponsored health insurance plans, largely alleging that the requirement infringes upon religious liberty.
NFPRHA educates its membership and the public about key developments in the contraceptive coverage cases and how they might affect the family planning network and impact the safety net. NFPRHA will also work with its national partner organizations as the cases are considered by the Supreme Court to ensure that the voices of safety-net providers and their patients are heard.
The Court held that the contraceptive coverage requirement is not the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest, in large part because the government has an existing approach that could be used for closely held for-profit corporations: the accommodation for religiously affiliated nonprofit organizations, which allows certain nonprofits to opt out of directly arranging or paying for contraceptive coverage. In such situations, the insurance plan or third-party administrator (TPA) of the objecting entity must offer the coverage directly to enrollees without cost-sharing.
In 2014, one line of challenges—brought by closely held for-profit corporations—reached the US Supreme Court. On June 30, 2014, the Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), closely held corporations do not have to comply with the contraceptive coverage requirement.
- NFPRHA member authored an op-ed urging the Supreme Court to uphold contraceptive coverage in Zubik v. Burwell.
- NFPRHA press release: Supreme Court Punts on Contraceptive Coverage (Zubik v. Burwell)
- Family Planning Matters article on reproductive rights in the Supreme Court.
In March 2016, the Supreme Court, heard oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, a consolidation of seven cases brought primarily by religiously affiliated nonprofit organizations eligible for the accommodation. In these cases, listed below, the nonprofits argue that the accommodation imposes a substantial burden on their religious freedom in violation of RFRA. They argue that because the act of opting out under the current processes triggers the insurer or third-party payer to provide contraceptive coverage instead, the nonprofits are being forced to facilitate contraceptive coverage against their beliefs. The cases are listed below. In May 2016, the Supreme Court announced that it would send Zubik v. Burwell, back to the appellate courts. Instead of ruling on the merits of the case, the Court left the issue unresolved nationally and open to continued litigation.
NFPRHA Amicus Briefs
- Amicus brief on Zubik v. Burwell (PDF) - NFPRHA joined the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and nine other organizations on an amicus brief to urge the Supreme Court to uphold the contaceptive coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (February 2016).
- NHeLP Amicus Brief Supporting the Contraceptive Coverage Benefit (PDF) - National Health Law Program’s (NHeLP) amicus brief, signed by NFPRHA and 16 other public health organizations, highlighting why the contraceptive coverage requirement matters not only for women with insurance, but also for those without who rely on the family planning safety net (January 2014)
NFPRHA Fact Sheets
- NWLC Amicus Brief Supporting the Contraceptive Coverage Benefit (HTML) - The National Women's Law Center's (NWLC) amicus brief, joined by 68 additional organizations, focusing on the rights of the women who would be harmed by for-profit companies refusing to provide coverage of birth control without cost-sharing as guaranteed under the contraception regulations (January 2014).