Contraception coverage rules don't impede religious freedom, court rules

The Affordable Care Act provision that requires religious employers to provide contraceptive coverage unless they apply to opt out does not constitute a "substantial burden" on a Roman Catholic order of nuns' freedom of religion, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. If employers such as the Little Sisters of the Poor object to providing contraceptive coverage, they can log their complaint either with their health insurance companies or with the Department of Health and Human Services, Judge Scott M. Matheson Jr., writes, noting that the process is not arduous.

"In the context of insured plans, health insurance issuers are generally responsible for paying for contraceptive coverage when a religious non-profit organization opts out," the ruling states, adding that this likely will not cost insurers extra "because of the cost savings that accompany improvements in women's health and lower pregnancy rates." Ruling (.pdf)