Numerous lawsuits have been filed by for-profit businesses to challenge an Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandate that requires non-grandfathered health plans to cover contraceptives without cost-sharing. The lawsuits do not challenge the constitutionality of the mandate itself, but seek an exemption from the contraception mandate’s requirements for closely held companies that are owned by individuals who object to the mandate on religious grounds.
Federal Court Conclusions
So far, federal courts have reached opposite conclusions in these cases.
- Some courts have granted temporary injunctions for the businesses involved in the cases, which allow the companies to avoid the ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate while their cases proceed in court.
- Some courts have denied the injunctions, requiring business to comply with the mandate while their cases continue.
These rulings apply only to the specific businesses involved in the lawsuits and do not invalidate the ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate.
Supreme Court Review
Because federal courts have reached opposite conclusions in these cases, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the issue. On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court heard arguments in two related cases that challenge the ACA’s contraceptive coverage mandate. In these cases, two privately-held, for-profit companies – Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. – argue that they should not be required to comply with the contraceptive coverage mandate because covering certain types of contraceptives under their health plans violates their religious beliefs.
The broad question the Supreme Court is expected to decide is whether a private, for-profit business has the right to “exercise” religious beliefs and, if so, to what extent it is protected from government interference.
The Supreme Court ruling is expected to be issued by the end of June 2014.
What does the contraceptive coverage mandate entail? Read more here for detailed information on required coverage, special rules for religious employers and court cases.
For more information on the ACA’s preventive care coverage mandate, contact Alltrust’s Compliance experts at 727.772.4200.