HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the Obama administration plans to issue a rule "in the near future" on its compromise plan on contraception coverage and is meeting with insurers, clergy and health leaders to get feedback on how to make it work.
“We’ve begun outreach. I have talked to Catholic health leaders, I’m reaching out to priests. We’re also talking to union leaders, we’re talking to our partners at labor who run the self-insured plans to figure out a strategy,” Sebelius told reporters at a conference in D.C. on Tuesday.
“We intend to propose a rule in the near future on some implementation strategies that I think do exactly what the president says –- which is make sure women have preventive health services and respect religious freedom," Sebelius said.
A final rule on preventive services for women has already been issued, requiring employers to cover all FDA-approved contraception. The rule exempted only churches and grandfathered plans, but Obama announced earlier this month that faith-based employers will not need to provide the free contraceptive coverage to employees. Instead, insurance companies will have to pick up the cost.
“This will be an implementation rule, so we’ll propose it and have it in place in time,” Sebelius said. “For those religious employers who do not fall under the exemption, their implementation deadline is August of 2013. So we have 18 months, but we intend to move well ahead of that deadline."
This article first appeared on POLITICO Pro at 10:12 a.m. on February 28, 2012.
I am an Air Force Veteran of the Cold War and the First Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm). I live on a wooded hilltop with my two rescued dogs, Yogi and Ranger, and two rescued cats, White Sox, and Mittens. We share my land with several deer, a family of red-tailed hawks, a barn owl, numerous squirrels (that my dogs and the cat tree together), a family of pileated woodpeckers and numerous cottontail rabbits, and an occasional opossum or raccoon.