Harvard Law School’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation (CHLPI) filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in Zubik v. Burwell, an Affordable Care Act (ACA) challenge set for argument on March 26. The brief asks the Court to affirm Court of Appeals’ decisions upholding the federal policy of maintaining access to free preventive care, including contraceptive services, in employer-sponsored health plans.
Currently, federal law allows employers to “opt-out” of financing access to no cost contraceptive services, provided the employers furnish notice to the government so that alternate financing can be arranged for their employees. The challengers in this case seek to foreclose this alternative access for their employees, which would force employees to pay out of pocket for contraceptive services.
The brief warns that if the Court grants a contraceptive services exception, “[r]eligious employers will continue to ‘edit’ the mandated package of preventive services, and chip away at other coverage of these conditions.” The Center said it has already received reports of employers using religious objections to avoid covering HIV medications on the health plans they offer employees.