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On July 8, 2020 the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, upholding the new Trump Administration rule regarding contraceptive coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The decision, the latest challenge relating to the contraceptive mandate, upholds the rule that non-governmental, non-publicly traded employers can refuse to offer contraceptive coverage for moral or religious reasons, and that publicly traded employers can refuse to do so for religious reasons.
At questions at issue in the case were: (1) does the ACA actually require contraceptive coverage or was it a creation of regulations, and (2) did the administration comply with the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) with respect to the breadth of the final regulation. The Trump regulation was actually an expansion of an Obama era rule that already allowed non-governmental, non-publicly traded employers to refuse to offer contraceptive coverage on religious grounds.
In addition to expanding the scope of the exception to include objections based on moral grounds, the Trump regulations extend the coverage for objecting employers to include health insurance issuers, and to individuals, who can ask a health insurance issuer to provide them with a plan that expressly does not cover contraception due to the sincerely held religious belief.
The majority opinion found that the Health and Human Services Division of the Department of Labor had broad authority under the ACA to issue and revise rules related to prior guidelines promulgated by the Agency pursuant to authority found in the ACA. That authority includes making an accommodation for religious objections.
As Republicans and Democrats continue to spar over the scope and applicability of different provisions of the ACA, employers need to remember one important thing – The healthcare law is likely here to stay. Employers, that means complying with the healthcare law’s Employer Shared Responsibility Provision (ESRP), also known as the Employer Mandate.
As a reminder to employers in conjunction with the Employer Shared Responsibility Payment (ESRP), the ACA’s Employer Mandate, Applicable Large Employers (ALEs) organizations with 50 or more full-time employees and full-time equivalent employees) are required to offer Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to at least 95% of their full-time workforce (and their dependents) whereby such coverage meets Minimum Value (MV) and is Affordable for the employee or be subject to Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 4980H penalties.
The IRS has announced that it will begin issuing ACA penalty letters such as Letter 226J after July 15. If your organization is unsure of where it stands in regards to ACA compliance, Trusaic will perform a free ACA Penalty Risk Assessment to diagnose risk areas in your compliance strategy and get you on track.
We’re committed to helping companies reduce risk, avoid penalties, and achieve 100% ACA compliance. For questions about the ACA contact us here.