Court Halts Expansion of Exemptions from Contraceptive Mandate
Pennsylvania’s attorney general filed a lawsuit objecting to the October 2017 interim final rules (IFRs) which expanded the ability to exclude contraceptive/sterilization coverage to which an employer objects. On Friday, December 15, 2017, a federal court issued a 44-page preliminary injunction which stops group health plans from being able to claim the expanded exemption. So the existing rules we had prior to the IFRs remains the law of the land until we hear more on this case.
Regulators had published a reminder a couple weeks earlier that groups making a change to their contraceptive coverage would need to ensure they provide any ordinarily required notices such as the SBC and SPD/SMM. However, the injunction now takes away the ability for groups to rely on the expanded exemptions. Group plans which took advantage of the new IFRs may want to evaluate whether to reset the contraceptive benefits back to what they had in place prior to the IFRs.
IMA will continue to monitor regulator guidance and offer meaningful, practical, timely information.
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