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August 18, 2022

Federal agencies issue FAQs for women’s contraceptive coverage under the ACA

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On July 28, 2022, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury (“the Departments”) issued guidance in the form of frequently asked questions (the FAQs) clarifying protections for contraceptive coverage under the preventive services mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The FAQs follow an executive order issued by President Biden to support access to reproductive care following the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade on June 24th. The guidance makes clear that non-grandfathered group health plans and health insurance issuers without a religious or moral exemption must provide mandated contraceptive coverage, including emergency contraception, at no cost to participants.

This guidance reiterates many of the existing contraceptive and reproductive health coverage requirements with the intent to remind plans and insurers of their obligations under the ACA. In function, the FAQs are less about breaking new ground and more about the Departments providing additional examples of required coverage and permitted plan administration. However, the emphasis on coverage and preemption is evident, and the Departments have made clear that this will be an enforcement priority.