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Closely-held, for-profit corporations may now opt out of providing contraception insurance coverage to their employees, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided.
Large, publicly-traded corporations are not affected by this decision, due to it being impractical to determine the “beliefs” of a corporation, according to the opinion.
This decision could impact other cases – some filed by distributors and manufacturers – that were put on hold pending the outcome at the Supreme Court. Midwest Fastener Corp., Portage, MI, filed a lawsuit in October 2013, stating that the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act was violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
The RFRA bars the U.S. government from “substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion” – even if it is resulting from another law or act, such as the Affordable Care Act.
HVAC manufacturer Hercules Industries Inc., Denver, CO, filed a similar lawsuit in October 2013.
The decision could have a trickle-down effect into other areas besides contraception if corporations view the decision as a door through which to send objections to other types of laws. However, the opinion states that “This decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate…”
New regulations are expected from the Department of Health and Human Services, which should help determine exactly which employers may use this exemption.