The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and the Treasury (“the Departments”) recently released a Request For Information (RFI) inviting public comments. The Departments seek alternative ways to obtain accommodations for religious organizations objecting to providing contraceptive services while still allowing women enrolled on the Plan access to contraception without cost sharing. This information request comes on the heels of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) opinion in Zubik v. Burwell. The SCOTUS requested additional information in order to determine if requiring submission of the form or certain information to HHS is a substantial burden in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). Employers affected by these accommodation rules may submit comments by September 20, 2016 via the information in the RFI linked above.

 Religious Accommodation Requests

The ACA requires non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance carriers to provide coverage of certain specified preventive services without cost sharing. An eligible religious organization may request an accommodation whereby the organization does not have to contract, arrange, pay, or provide a referral for contraceptive coverage. In order to obtain the accommodation, the organization must self-certify eligibility using EBSA Form 700 and provide the form to its health insurance carrier or, if self-funded, to their third party administrator. Alternatively, the organization may provide this information directly to HHS. 

 Request for Information

 The Departments are asking for comments on the above-stated procedure for obtaining religious accommodation, including regarding the following:

  1. Whether the employer’s RFRA objection could be resolved by any procedure(s) or system(s) in which the organization's insurance carrier provides contraceptive coverage to the women enrolled in the organization's health plan; and, if so, describe the procedure(s) or system(s) with specificity.
  2. Whether the employer would have any RFRA objection to informing their insurance carrier that they object to providing contraceptive coverage on religious grounds, or to a requirement that the request be made in writing, or made via a particular form.
  3. To what extent would eliminating the written notification requirement in the existing accommodation add additional burdens on the objecting employers, insurance carrier and regulators? What steps could be taken to mitigate those burdens?
  4. What impact would the alternative procedure described above have on the ability of women enrolled in group health plans that are established by objecting employers to receive seamless coverage for contraceptive services?

NOTICE OF DISCLAIMER

The information herein is intended to be educational only and is based on information that is generally available. HUB International makes no representation or warranty as to its accuracy and is not obligated to update the information should it change in the future. 

The information is not intended to be legal or tax advice. Consult your attorney and/or professional advisor as to your organization’s specific circumstances and legal, tax or other requirements.