Hobby Lobby

Compromising on Contraceptives and Religion. Say what?

Recently the Obama Administration compromised to allow waivers for religious organizations to restrict paying for contraceptives on their health plans.

What does that mean for most religious groups that offer health benefits? Unless a group is self funded and writes their own plan, it will be difficult to change things. As we have discussed in earlier blogs posts, 98% of all employers purchase fully insured plans from insurance companies. Insurance companies file their plans and, for the most part, are abiding by the original requirements in ACA on what to cover. Therefore, if a group is fully insured, they cannot just change their plan.

WSJ-Apr222014-AdminOffersContraceptionCompromise

It is possible that the insurance carriers may roll out plans that give these types of groups a chance to change their plan. However, at this point that is not possible and we usually see insurance companies move slowly on these events.

The administration rolled this out to allow for waivers. The carriers will probably wait and see if there are a lot of requests and then decide if they will react.

To read more on this topic, please read Administration Offers Contraception Compromise for Religious Employers, an article that appeared on WSJ Online.

 

More Clouds on the Horizon: Fate of Obamacare Subsidies Up in the Air

We’ve long contended that it will take years for all the implications of the Affordable Care Act to play out. There’s still so much to be determined and so many factors, moving parts and unintended consequences that will ultimately shape the outcome.

On the heels of last week’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby (the court ruled that Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act with regards to closely held for-profit corporations) looms a series of potentially even more far-reaching court challenges to a major tenet of Obamacare — premium subsidies.

Photo credit: Reuters/John Gress as seen at TheFiscalTimes.com

Photo credit: Reuters/John Gress as seen at TheFiscalTimes.com

The arguments are now at the Appellate Court level and center on very specific language in the Affordable Care Act. The challenges contend that the subsidies cannot be provided to people in states aligned with the federal exchange; and, further, only those who signed up for coverage through the state insurance marketplaces are entitled to subsidies.

Who knows how the courts will rule? If they do rule against the government like they did in the Hobby Lobby case, the potential impact looms large. Only 14 states set up their own insurance marketplaces. 36 other states opted to let the federal government build and run their exchanges.

It will also probably take any rulings that go against premium subsidies as much as a year or more to play out. And, no doubt they will be challenged by the government — all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.

One thing’s for sure, any Appellate Court rulings against the subsidies will almost certainly make an already cloudy picture even cloudier.

There have been many challenges to Obamacare — some real, some grasping at straws. This one is garnering some serious attention from both sides of the fence lending credence to the belief that the fate of the subsidies for now could be very much up in the air.

For more details, read Court Challenges Subsidies, Threaten Obamacare and Halbig and King – a Simple Case of IRS Overreach

See our previous article regarding Hobby Lobby: Hobby Lobby Politics-Will The Brand Win or Lose?

Hobby Lobby Politics – will the “brand” win or lose?

Have you been keeping up with the controversial Hobby Lobby case in the Supreme Court of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby? The company has taken a very public position against certain provisions of The Affordable Care Act, specifically as it relates to covering contraception for women. They cover male contraception in the form of vasectomy, but take issue with providing contraception for women. David Green, founder of the very successful family-owned retail chain, wants the court to expand the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 so that businesses like his can opt out of certain provisions of Obamacare on religious grounds.

Whatever your political or religious views on contraception, consider what politics and religious views can have on your company’s brand. Mary Buffett, writer for The Huffington Post does an excellent job of laying out the facts and the potential toll this case may have on the successful brand name Hobby Lobby has made for itself over the past several years. Why Hobby Lobby Loses Even if it Wins at the Supreme Court.

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