Federal judge blocks recent contraception coverage final rules

On Monday, Jan. 14, 2019, a federal judge out of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor (the Departments) from enforcing the Final Rules on religious and moral exemptionsto contraceptive coverage required by the Affordable Care Act. The preliminary injunction has an effective date of Jan. 14, 2019 and applies nationwide. 

While the preliminary injunction is in effect the Final Rules may not be enforced. Therefore, issuers and third-party administrators (TPAs) must continue to follow the prior Eligible Organization accommodation process that permits nonprofit organizations and closely held for-profit entities to exclude contraceptives and contraceptive services from their plans based on a sincerely held religious objection.  

  • This process requires that the issuer or TPA of an Eligible Organization pay for and provide a separate contraceptive and contraceptive service benefit to plan members.  UnitedHealthcare calls this separate contraceptive services benefit the Contraceptive Services Only (CSO) plan.  
  • Certain churches, houses of worship, and their integrated auxiliaries and conventions or association of churches may still be able to elect an exemption to the contraceptive mandate.