Doctors, Women, Religious Groups Feel Impact Of Birth Control Coverage Mandate

Physicians say they -- rather than insurers -- will feel the burden of the rule. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress stay relatively quiet on the requirement, but tensions continue among Catholics and evangelical Protestants.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Doctors Will Have to Figure Out Who Gets 'No-Cost' Birth Control
The new provision of the federal health law that waives cost sharing for women's preventive health services may be a mandate on insurance companies, but it's providers who are complaining about its burden (Whitney, 8/2).

The Washington Post: Five Facts About The Health Law's Contraceptive Mandate
Remember that part of the health reform law, that requires insurance companies to provide contraceptives at no cost to subscribers? After surviving a heated debate earlier this year, the regulation went into effect. … Here are five things to know about it (Kliff, 8/1).

Newshour (Video): Affordable Care Act Benefits Begin Roll Out, Including Women's Preventative Care
Some benefits outlined in the Affordable Care Act begin this week, including preventive services for women. Covered benefits include OB-GYN visits, HIV and other STD testing and birth control. Margaret Warner talks to NPR's Julie Rovner about the latest updates regarding health care reform.

Reuters: U.S. Rule Highlights Catholic Tensions Over Contraception
New rules requiring free access to prescription birth control for women with health insurance go into effect on Wednesday, but controversy lingers at some Catholic institutions struggling to balance the requirement with their opposition to contraception. At Georgetown University, the nation's oldest Catholic university, students and administration officials are still wrestling with the requirement to cover contraceptives as part of larger effort to expand no-cost preventive care for women (Heavey, 8/1).

National Journal: As Contraception Rule Goes Into Effect, Unusual Silence From Republicans
Religious freedom from government regulations was once seen as a winning talking point for Republicans. But on the day that a contraception regulation takes effect that several religious groups are challenging in court, Republicans are barely mentioning the topic. That is a stark contrast to what happened in February, when House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, took to the floor for a rare one-minute speech promising to overturn a rule from the Obama administration requiring employers to pay for birth control for their workers (McCarthy, 8/1).

Local coverage of this health law provision -

Kansas Health Institute News: New Coverage Rules Expected To Have Big Impact In Kansas
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 450,000 Kansas women will benefit from federal rules that take effect today requiring health insurance companies to cover certain preventive and contraceptive services. The new rules in the Affordable Care Act prohibit charging co-payments and deductibles for specific preventive services, including well-woman visits, breast-feeding support and supplies, and testing for HIV, gestational diabetes and human papillomavirus. Screening for domestic violence and counseling for victims are also among the preventive services required. "This is an historic moment for Kansas women and their families," said Anna Lambertson, executive director of the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition (McLean, 8/1).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Affordable Health Care Act Takes Effect
Basic preventive care on eight services, including a birth control benefit, for women insured under new health care plans went into effect Wednesday under the Affordable Health Care Act. About 967,000 women between the ages of 15 and 64 from Wisconsin enrolled in new health care plans are guaranteed access to preventive care under the Affordable Care Act guidelines, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services brief released last month. Nationally, 47 million women are estimated to receive preventive health services for policies renewing on or after Aug. 1 (Qidwae, 8/2).

In related news -

CQ HealthBeat: Wheaton College Seeks Injunction Against Contraceptive Requirement
Lawyers for Wheaton College asked a federal court to grant a preliminary injunction Wednesday against enforcement of a Department of Health and Human Services requirement that the college offer free contraceptive coverage in its employee health insurance policies. Wheaton, an evangelical Christian liberal arts college in Wheaton, Ill., said in its filing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that the requirement would apply to its health coverage because the HHS rule goes into effect for non-grandfathered plans that begin their open enrollment on Wednesday or later. The college said covering the so-called "morning after" emergency contraceptives known as Ella and Plan B would violate its religious beliefs (Norman, 8/1).

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