Officials at the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and the Treasury today took the next step in the Obama administration's effort to ensure women access to recommended preventive services while respecting religious liberty. The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued today outlines draft proposals to implement the policy announced by President Barack Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Feb. 10, 2012. This policy will provide women with access to recommended preventive services including contraceptives without cost sharing, while ensuring that non-profit religious organizations are not forced to pay for, provide, or facilitate the provision of any contraceptive service they object to on religious grounds. The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued today gives all Americans the chance to formally comment on ideas for implementing this policy.
Administration officials also released a final rule governing student health plans. Under the final rule, students will gain the same consumer protections other people with individual market insurance have, like a prohibition on lifetime limits and coverage of preventive services without cost sharing. In the same way that religious colleges and universities will not have to pay, arrange or refer for contraceptive coverage for their employees, they will not have to do so for their students who will get such coverage directly and separately from their insurer.
"The President's policy respects religious liberty and makes free preventive services available to women," said Secretary Sebelius. "Today's announcement is the next step toward fulfilling that commitment."
Today's Federal Register advance notice concerning women's preventive services calls for a 90-day public comment period. The departments will also hold listening sessions.
The advance notice of proposed rulemaking on women's preventive services and the student health plan final rule is available in the Federal Register at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/03/21/2012-06689/certain-preventive-services-under-affordable-care-act.
For more information on women's preventive services, visit:
For more information on the student health plan final rule, visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2012/03/student-health-plans03162012a.html