Culture

Notre Dame ending no-cost contraceptive coverage

Notre Dame ending no-cost contraceptive coverage”

Instead, Notre Dame students and employees could use a third-party service to include no-cost birth control in their existing university-provided health insurance plans.

The South Bend Tribune reports that an email set by the Catholic university on Friday to faculty and staff shows that coverage will end for employees on January 1.

Coverage will end for students on the university's health-care plan on August 14, 2018. This setup was one of the Obama administration's accommodations for religious organizations under the Affordable Care Act: Rather than force religious employers to pay into the premiums that indirectly funded birth control, the government footed the contraception bill. This government notification triggered separate no-cost contraceptive coverage for employees provided directly by the insurance company and paid for by the government. Last week, the university announced that it would drop birth control coverage for its students, faculty, and staff.

For years, the case wound its way through the courts as part of nationwide litigation challenging the contraceptive mandate. The changes expanded the types of employers that can opt out of birth control coverage and eliminated the requirement that employers notify the government to enable third-party contraceptive coverage.

Under the university's plan, people will still have access to contraceptive medications "when there is an appropriate medical necessity as shown by a treating physician". The school will still cover birth control if it's used as treatment for a medical condition and not as pregnancy prevention. Those medications will come with standard prescription copayments.

Three organizations that have been closely monitoring the birth-control debate - Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Women's Law Center - told The Associated Press on Tuesday that they knew of no other major institution that had taken the same step following Trump's decision earlier this month. A federal judge appointed by George W. Bush rejected the university's claim, writing that "Notre Dame wants to eat its cake, and have it still, at the expense of ... the employees who will be affected".

Graduate student Louise Williams, who uses birth control pills for medical reasons, said she's anxious she'll have to use money from her small graduate school stipend if the insurance company doesn't accept the medical reasons her physician provides.



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