Today the Obama administration issued a new rule that ensures companies like Hobby Lobby are not able to block their employees from accessing affordable birth control coverage. The rule responds to dangerous precedent set by Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, a case in which the Supreme Court ruled that an arts and crafts store could refuse to cover contraception in its employer-sponsored health insurance plan on the basis of its religious beliefs.
What this means for women: You will be able to get birth control without a copay, no matter where you work.
How the New Rule Works
Under the new rule, certain closely held companies (those that do not offer publicly traded stock and meet some other requirements) may refuse to cover birth control on the basis of the owners’ religious objections.
However, the health insurer that the company uses must directly provide employees’ contraception at no cost.
The end result: A woman will continue to have seamless access to birth control without cost — as intended under Obamacare — regardless of her company’s objection.
Bosses should not be able to interfere in a woman’s health care decisions. Thanks to this rule, they won’t be able to.
The Fight Isn’t Over
Although this new rule does ensure that women can get birth control coverage even if their boss opposes it, the rule does not “fix” the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling. In fact, this accommodation shouldn’t be necessary in the first place. The Hobby Lobby ruling still allows companies to discriminate against their staff — allowing bosses to pick and choose which health services they provide based on their personal beliefs.
That’s why Congress must pass legislation to really fix it.
“We’re already seeing enormous benefits from expanding access to birth control without a copay. We need to keep moving forward, not go backward. We’ll continue working to ensure that women have access to birth control at no cost – which is critical for expanding economic and educational opportunity for women.”- Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund President, July 9, 2015