The Obama Administration moved forward last week on two regulations implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that impact colleges and universities: Contraceptive coverage at religious institutions—including religiously affiliated colleges—and self-funded student health insurance plans.
The ACA, President Obama’s signature health care reform law signed in 2010, requires all employers to provide contraception without co-payment.
Under the proposed rule released on Friday, “group health plans of 'religious employers' would be exempted from having to provide contraceptive coverage, if they have religious objections to contraception," according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Plan participants would instead “receive contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies, without cost sharing or additional premiums.”
HHS also released a proposal last Wednesday that would allow self-funded student health insurance plans to be recognized as providing “minimal essential coverage” under the ACA.
There are more than 30 not-for-profit higher education institutions offering self-funded health insurance plans, which cover more than 300,000 students. The individual mandate takes effect in 2014.
Student Health Plans and the Affordable Care Act (Healthcare.gov)
New Plan Seeks to Ease Religious Colleges' Objections to Contraceptive Coverage
The Chronicle of Higher Education (Feb 1, 2013)
U.S. Exempts Some Student Health Plans
Inside Higher Ed (Jan. 31, 2013)