White House amends contraception coverage

In an adjustment to its decision requiring that religiously-affiliated employers provide free contraception coverage, the White House on Friday announced that insurers must provide contraceptives directly to members if their employers object.

President Barack Obama said in a press briefing that female employees of religiously-affiliated institutions can access free contraceptive coverage directly from their insurer, reported CBS News.

The decision protects religious liberty while ensuring that "women will still have access to free preventive care that includes contraceptive services no matter where they work," Obama said.

A senior White House official said the new contraception coverage would have a cost-neutral impact on insurers and could potentially save costs by reducing coverage related to unwanted pregnancies and other conditions that birth control helps avoid, according to The Washington Post.

HHS originally said religiously-affiliated institutions were required to cover birth control costs in their health insurance plans. But many criticized the decision, arguing it impinged on religious freedom, BBC News reported.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Post article
- see the BBC News article
- check out the CBS News article
- read the White House fact sheet