CHA welcomes HHS’ latest rules on contraception coverage
The Catholic Health Association says the latest federal rules on birth control coverage are an improvement. But the trade group for Roman Catholic hospitals said it won’t make a final judgment until it canvasses its members. Religious leaders have been seeking a broader exemption from HHS’ requirement that employers provide insurance that covers contraception at no out-of-pocket cost to enrollees. HHS included the requirement under a preventive-services provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Churches are exempt. The agency’s latest compromise also creates a buffer between religious charities and birth control coverage. “We welcomed the clarity of the statements of HHS’ intent to protect eligible organizations from having to contract, arrange, pay or refer for contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds,” CHA President and CEO Sister Carol Keehan said in the association’s statement. “HHS also proposes that these organizations will incur no liability for the failure of others such as insurance companies to provide such services.” U.S. bishops this month said the new rules don’t answer all their objections, but they will work on finding a solution. The CHA said its concerns are narrower in scope.