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Obama Administration Revises Contraception Mandate

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Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center, noted that, "Our overriding concern is that women have meaningful access to essential preventive health care services, like birth control, without co-pays or deductibles. We look forward to reviewing and commenting on the proposed regulation in detail to ensure that women are able to make personal health decisions without interference by their bosses."

Although no federal dollars will be used to fund the program, the cost to insurers isn't known and the government is seeking comment on costs, Brooks-LaSure said.

For institutions that insure themselves, their third-party administrator would work with an insurance company to provide a separate plan to cover contraceptives, she said.

The rules also clarify the definition of a "religious employer," making it clear who can opt out of contraceptive coverage on such grounds. Primarily, these are churches, other houses of worship and their affiliated organizations, according to Health and Human Services.

In addition, a religious group could be exempt even if it "provides charitable social services to persons of different religious faiths or employs persons of different religious faiths," HHS said.

Government officials said they did not think the proposal would expand the number of employer plans that qualify for the exemption.

More information

For more on the Affordable Care Act, visit the HealthCare.gov.

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