Officials Issue Draft Proposals about Contraception Coverage

March 19, 2012 ( – Officials issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking designed to ensure women access to recommended preventive services while respecting religious liberty.

The Notice issued by the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor and the Treasury outlines draft proposals to implement the policy announced by President Barack Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on February 10, 2012 (see “Religious Employers Will Not Be Required to Provide Employees Contraception Coverage”). This policy will provide women with access to recommended preventive services including contraceptives without cost sharing, while ensuring that non-profit religious organizations are not forced to pay for, provide or facilitate the provision of any contraceptive service they object to on religious grounds.    

The Notice calls for a 90-day public comment period.   

Administration officials also released a final rule governing student health plans. Under the final rule, students will gain the same consumer protections other people with individual market insurance have, like a prohibition on lifetime limits and coverage of preventive services without cost sharing. In the same way that religious colleges and universities will not have to pay, arrange or refer for contraceptive coverage for their employees, they will not have to do so for their students who will get such coverage directly and separately from their insurer.   

The advance notice of proposed rulemaking on women’s preventive services and the student health plan final rule is available in the Federal Register at  

For more information on women’s preventive services, visit  

For more information on the student health plan final rule, visit