President Obama Announces New Policy to Improve Access to Contraception
President Barack Obama, with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius behind him, announces a new health care policy that requires a woman's insurance company to offer contraceptive care free of charge if the woman's religious employer objects to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan coverage. The announcement was made in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Jan. 12, 2012. Today, President Obama announced a policy that will accommodate religious freedom while making sure that women have access to preventive health care, including contraception, at no additional cost, no matter where they work. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance companies will cover women’s preventive care — services like well-woman visits, mammograms, immunizations, as well as contraception — without charging a co-pay or deductible beginning in August 2012. Churches had already been exempted from providing employees with health care that covered contraception. The new policy announced today ensures that if a woman works for other types of religious employers with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide, pay for or refer for contraception coverage. Instead her insurance company will be required to directly offer her contraceptive care at no additional charge, as President Obama explained: Under the rule, women will still have access to free preventive care that includes contraceptive services — no matter where they work.  So that core principle remains.  But if a woman’s employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company — not the hospital, not the charity — will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge, without co-pays and without hassles.  read more
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