Religious Employers Given More Time for Contraception Rule

January 20, 2012 ( – The Obama administration is giving certain religious employers more time to comply with a health insurance contraception rule.

The religious organizations will have a one-year delay before they must comply with a new rule requiring employers that offer workers health insurance to include access to contraception with no out-of-pocket cost, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the decision. But the rule itself and the employers covered by it remain unchanged.  

The rule, first proposed by the administration in August, does exempt employers whose primary purpose is to inculcate religious values and that mainly employ and serve individuals who share those values, the Post said. However, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had lobbied hard for a permanent exemption for employers that consider birth control a violation of their religious beliefs, argued that this definition was too narrow — excluding a wide range of religious universities, hospitals and schools that do not currently offer birth control coverage, according to the news report.  

Under the arrangement, to be announced Friday, institutions that do currently offer contraception will not be eligible for the one-year waiver.