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HHS finalizes new contraception rules

Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson via Getty Images

Another significant change in HHS' program integrity rule: The department wants insurers to send consumers separate bills for medical coverage and whatever coverage they might provide for abortion.

How it works: Federal law says federal funding — including premium subsidies under the ACA — can't be used to cover abortion, and requires insurers to segregate the money they use to provide coverage for abortion services.

  • That segregation will need to include a whole separate billing process if this proposed rule is finalized.
  • HHS said insurers should "send an entirely separate monthly bill to the consumer for only the portion of premium attributable to abortion coverage" — which, according to earlier policy outlines, could be as low as $1.

On a similar note, HHS also finalized rules yesterday making it easier for employers to opt out of the ACA's contraception mandate if they have religious — or, in some cases, moral — objections to birth control.

  • Small businesses, schools, insurance companies and individuals can claim either a religious or moral exemption.
  • Large, for-profit employers do not appear to be able to claim the moral exemption, but non-profits and small businesses can.

The other side: ACA legal expert Nicholas Bagley has argued that the exemption for moral objections is illegal.

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