Skip to main content

Health insurance you get through work won't have to cover birth control anymore

It's a change from an Obama-era requirement.

A new policy announced by the Trump administration Friday lets companies exclude contraception coverage from the health insurance they offer workers. 

It's a change from an Obama-era requirement which said health insurance offered by employers must cover preventive care, including birth control. 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in Friday's statement companies whose owners have religious or moral objections to that requirement can now opt out of it.

If they do, that would mean women on those companies' health plans who want birth control would need to pay for it with their own money. 

How many people will this affect?

It's too soon to know exactly, and there's a big disagreement among the predictions. 

HHS said about 200 companies and nonprofits have gone to court challenging the mandate to cover contraception. And the department said employees with those companies may be the only people affected by the change. 

They said more than 99.9 percent of the women in the U.S. will be unaffected by the rule change. 

Some health policy experts are skeptical of that claim. 

Dania Palanker of Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reforms told NPR a lot of business owners may not have wanted the publicity and expense of suing the government, but will opt out of the contraceptive mandate now that it's an option. 

"It is a huge loophole for any employer that does not want to provide birth control coverage to their employees," Palanker said. 

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, put out a statement calling the Trump administration's move "unconscionable," and urging the state's employers to "disavow this effort to strip Minnesotans of their health care."

Religious freedom or discrimination against women?

The rule change is not a total surprise because President Donald Trump had signaled in May that it might be coming. 

He issued an executive order telling his Cabinet to consider changing regulations "to address conscience-based objections to the preventive care mandate."

On Friday the Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic education group, applauded the administration's new rule, saying, “All Americans should embrace religious freedom and conscience rights, no matter what party or belief system they subscribe to.”

The National Partnership for Women and Families said the change in policy discriminates against women and warns that it "would take us back in time to when women had to choose between paying for birth control and paying off their student loans." 

In its announcement, HHS said the policy change took effect immediately on Friday. It won't be published in the Federal Register until next week, though, and a public comment period continues through Dec. 5. 

In bureaucratic lingo, the policy is peculiarly known as an "interim final rule." The whole 100-page document and instructions on how to file a comment are here.

Next Up

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.

Pro choice rally

Walz, Jensen react to historic Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade

After voting to overturn Roe, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted contraception and same-sex marriage protections should follow.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

2-year-old killed in crash on County Road 81 in Maple Grove

The crash occurred Thursday evening on County Road 81.

police tape

BCA issues new details about St. Michael standoff, shooting

New details say a St. Cloud police officer struck the suspect with gunfire.

Screen Shot 2022-06-23 at 2.21.45 PM

92-year-old driver killed in rural Scott County crash

The crash happened around 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Screen Shot 2022-06-24 at 7.29.06 AM

Big-time rain totals flood Highway 10 in central Minnesota

More rain and storms are expected Friday and Saturday morning.

image

Charges: Driver had just left local bar before deadly Shakopee crash

Witnesses said they were unable to help the 19-year-old Eden Prairie man who died in the crash after becoming trapped.

Chet Holmgren

Thunder selects Chet Holmgren 2nd overall in NBA Draft

The Minneapolis native becomes the highest-drafted Minnesotan in NBA history.

Screen Shot 2022-06-23 at 2.21.45 PM

One airlifted after crash on rural Scott County highway

The State Patrol shut down Highway 282 in both directions Thursday afternoon.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Police investigating after two men found dead in Maple Grove

Few details are known about the investigation.

12-web-or-mls-12 Dining room

Gallery: Charming, Northeast Minneapolis Home is perfect for first-time homebuyers

Located in the Holland neighborhood, it's near the Eastside Co-op, tons of amazing restaurants, breweries, and a distillery

US-169 BUS, Shakopee, Minnesota - June 2019 (1)

Eden Prairie 19-year-old killed in crash near Valleyfair is ID'd

Alcohol is believed to be a factor in this crash, involving a 26-year-old driver from Hopkins.

Related

More rural Minnesotans have health insurance now

The percentage of people without health insurance is now the same for urban and rural Minnesota, the Health Department says.

pixabay-diabetic-diabetes-insulin-testing-stirps

Health insurer to cap insulin prices for Minnesota patients

The move comes as rising costs have prompted action at the state Capitol.