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Health care, the church and contraception

There is both controversy and confusion over the Affordable Care Act's requirements that free contraception be provided in health insurance coverage as part of women's preventive health care services. Here are some facts: Religious employers are substantially accommodated under the new rules, and they are generally exempt from the contraceptive services mandate. But some enterprises, such as hospitals and universities, which operate under the auspice of a religious entity but are more ecumenical or secular, may not qualify for the exemption. • These are the criteria for determining whether a religiously affiliated nonprofit employer would be exempt: (1) its purpose is the inculcation of religious values, (2) it primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets, and (3) it primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets. For example, all churches, their integrated auxiliaries and associations of churches, would be exempt as would divinity schools and probably many parochial schools. However, a Catholic hospital that treats people of all faiths and hires on the basis of professional merit — and not religious affiliation — would not be exempt. • There will be financial penalties for large employers of more than 50 full-time employees that do not offer their workers health care coverage beginning in 2014, but only if one or more employees receives a federal subsidy to purchase health insurance.

Health care, the church and contraception 02/07/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 6:50pm]
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