On Friday the Obama administration made another move in enforcing a federal mandate for health insurance coverage of contraceptives and announced the requirement would apply to the many Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies that insure themselves.
Like other organizations that contract with a third party for insurance and object to providing contraceptive coverage, an independent entity would step in and provide the coverage thereby assuring women are not discriminated against in their health benefits while those opposed to contraception on religious grounds have those beliefs accommodated.
This is an important clarification since many Catholic schools, universities, hospitals and social service agencies are self-insured.
The administration said the final rules of “self-insured employers” would be issued after the November elections but before August 1, 2013 when the transition period for providing coverage is set to end.
The administration also issued a final rule requiring coverage of contraceptives under student health plans offered by many colleges and universities. The requirement also applies to health plans underwritten by private insurers like UnitedHealth and Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Predictably Republicans were not happy with the rules. At least one bill is pending in the House of Representatives that would let certain employers and insurers opt out of the contraception mandate, despite the failure of a similar bill in the Senate already.
What this means is women’s health, and the control of women’s bodies, will remain a primary issue in the presidential election.
Photo from nateone via flickr.