Recently, companies like Hobby Lobby have filed legal action against the ACA’s contraception mandate which requires health plans to cover contraceptive services for women without cost share.  Certain religious employers are exempt from this requirement, and organizations with leadership that has strong religious beliefs, like Hobby Lobby, are pushing to be exempted as well.

The final rules issued June 28, 2013 modify the definition of Religious Employer.  Now, a religious employer must be organized and operated as a non-profit organization, and a non-profit organization under IRS §6033 (a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) which refer to churches, houses of worship, and their integrated auxiliaries.

The rules create a new exception for Eligible Organizations.  These non-profit religious organizations with religious objections to covering contraceptive services can self-certify via EBSA Form 70 to be exempt from providing coverage for some or all contraceptive services for plan years starting on or after January 1, 2014.

If an insurer receives an Eligible Organization form, the health insurer must provide direct payment for contraceptive services at no cost to the plan.  If a TPA receives the form, the TPA must arrange for the issuer to provide payment.