No-cost contraception mandate implemented

Beginning Wednesday, up to 47 million women may be eligible to get free access to preventive health care services as that provision of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act goes into effect.

Many uninsured women taking contraception will still have out-of-pocket costs since the new rules only apply to people currently enrolled in health insurance plans. When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented more women are expected to get free access to preventive services.

Because these changes take effect at the beginning of a new insurance plan year, the requirement may go into effect later in the year for some people. The HHS estimates in a new report that 47 million women fall under such plans.

According to the White House Office of the Press Secretary, the policy also ensures that if a woman works for a religious employer with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide, pay for or refer for contraception coverage, but her insurance company will be required to directly offer her contraceptive care free of charge.

Many religious groups still are fighting the provision. reported that Catholic organizations across the country have filed 12 lawsuits in 43 different courts.

“The implementation of this policy marks the beginning of the end of religious freedom in our nation,” Christen Varley, executive director of Conscience Cause, said in a statement. has more on the new preventive benefits for women.


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