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Trump rule rolls back guarantee that all health insurance plans include birth control coverage

Insurers offering plans have been required to cover all FDA-approved contraception, including medications and devices that induce abortion.

Susan Morse, Associate Editor

The Department of Health and Human Services has released an interim rule allowing entities that hold strong religious beliefs to no longer be required to provide contraceptive services.

Insurers offering plans have been required to cover all FDA-approved contraception, including medications and devices that induce abortion, as well as sterilization procedures.

[Also: Supreme Court asks for more information in birth control case]

In May, President Donald Trump issued an executive order on free speech and religious liberty to direct HHS to amend existing regulations to Obama-era preventative care.

The regulation leaves in place preventative services and coverage guidelines where no religious or moral exemption exists.

[Also: Premature births cost health plans $6 billion annually]

HHS said the rules will not affect 99.9 percent of women.

Out of millions of employers, the exemptions may impact about 200 entities, a number based on the number that filed lawsuits based on religious or moral objections, HHS said.

[Also: Birth control coverage saves women significant money]

Plenty of people expressed both their frustration and support of the rule on birth control on Twitter. #HandsOffMyBC was the top item trending on Twitter.

Some said women should pay for their own contraception while others expressed outrage.

Planned Parenthood tweeted, "Birth control is NOT CONTROVERSIAL. The vast majority of women will use it in the course of their lifetimes" and also, "An attack on birth control coverage is outrageous. Access to birth control has been *essential* to women's progress."

Rep Suzan DelBene of Washington said in a statement, "Birth control is essential healthcare, plain and simple. Not only does it help women plan their families -- it's also used by thousands of women to treat serious medical conditions, like endometriosis and ovarian cysts."

HHS also released a second rule that applies the same policy to organizations and small businesses that have objections on the basis of moral conviction which is not based in any particular religious belief.

Current law already exempts over 25 million people from the preventative care mandate because they are insured through an entity that had a health insurance plan that existed prior to the ACA statute, HHS said.

The regulations leaves in place government programs that provide free or subsidized contraception coverage to low income women.

The Supreme Court has held up challenges to the ACA law, ruling the government can't punish business owners for their faith, HHS said.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the writer: susan.morse@himssmedia.com

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