Another change in healthcare has come in the form of a new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Trump Administration. According to an article which recently appeared at the HRDive.com website, not only will religious employers be able to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate of offering contraception to workers, but any company or non-profit organization can now do so as well.
In a report that aired on NPR last week, HHS indicated that Trump Administration officials want any employer who has a religious or moral objection to providing the means for employees to be offered birth control to opt out. So far, HHS says that only 200 employers who have filed lawsuits against the federal government have pursued the right to refuse to offer birth control. One of those interviewed on NPR said that there are many other business owners with strong religious beliefs that would opt out, but chose not to because of fear of bad publicity and the legal expenses that would come from filing a lawsuit.
HHS has said that these interim rules which take immediate effect also come with a request for comments from the public. Anyone with a stake in the issue is invited to submit comments regarding the final rules. Comments are being received until December 5, 2017. While HHS is probably not likely to make any changes to the interim rule, it will publish a final rule in the Federal Register that would affirm what action is being taken.
Most employers (59%) who were surveyed in a Willis Towers Watson Survey recently indicated that they were likely to continue offering healthcare provisions that were popular with workers even if the law no longer required them to do so. One such provision that is used by workers is that of contraceptive coverage which is not only used for birth control, but also used to treat other medical conditions such as endometriosis, migraine headaches, controlling acne, and other hormone-related health issues. The survey found that only 11% of organizations indicated that they would likely reduce provisions that they now offer to their workers based on the new rules.
At NetPEO, we understand that within the area of healthcare, the landscape is constantly changing. We also know that HR professionals must stay informed and up-to-date on what the latest laws, regulations, and legislation at the federal and state levels are. Keeping up on the latest information is the best way to make certain that you and your company are compliant. While what is happening in terms of healthcare and benefits can be confusing and frustrating, NetPEO stays informed and understands the law. We are committed to making sure our clients and their workers are also informed.
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