Trump Administration Interim HHS Rule
In a surprising announcement by the Trump Administration late Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the Administration released an interim rule that rolled back the Obama Administration rules regarding the requirement of employer sponsored health plans to pay for “preventative services” which included birth control and abortion procedures under religious or moral objections. The move has initiated legal action by the Attorney General in Massachusetts who announced yesterday that she has filed a suit in U.S. District Court yesterday.
Key facts about the interim final rules:
- The regulations exempt entities only from providing an otherwise mandated item to which they object on the basis of their religious beliefs or moral conviction.
- The regulation leaves in place preventive services coverage guidelines where no religious or moral objection exists. The Administration is asserting that out of millions of employers in the U.S., these exemptions would only impact about 200 entities.
- Current law itself already exempts over 25 million people from the preventive-care mandate because they are insured through an entity that has a health insurance plan that existed prior to the Obamacare statute.
- The regulations leave in place government programs that provide free or subsidized contraceptive coverage to low income women, such as through community health centers.
- These regulations do not ban any drugs or devices.
- The mandate as defined by the previous administration suffered defeats in court after court, including the Supreme Court, which ruled that the government cannot punish business owners for their faith.
Employers can read the final version of the interim rule. With certainty, there will be numerous legal challenges regarding these rules. We will keep our members updated regarding these new rules and the legal challenges as they develop.