There are many people who get their health insurance through their employer. This has been a common benefit provided by numerous companies and corporations for the past several decades. Because health insurance can often be incredibly expensive, this is a benefit that people have come to expect from their employers. There are usually multiple health insurance plans from which someone can choose. This allows people to tailor health insurance plans to meet their needs as well as the needs of their families. At the same time, one of the most important parts of many of these health insurance plans is access to contraception and other forms of birth control. Some people are surprised to hear that not all employers offer coverage for birth control. Some people wonder whether or not this is legal.
In a Supreme Court ruling that was released back in 2014, the judges ruled that private companies can deny their employees access to plans that provide coverage for birth control. Even though the Affordable Care Act was designed to expand care to everyone who needs it, including women, the Supreme Court ruled that employers can deny health insurance coverage to contraception. The decision held that the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ attempt to force companies to cover contraception was a violation of the religious beliefs of company owners. Therefore, if any company is able to prove that providing coverage for contraception was a violation of their religious beliefs, they could deny access to it.
There was a strong dissenting opinion from some of the judges on the bench, indicating that the cost of contraception out of pocket could be prohibitively expensive for some people. Therefore, this might present a major health hazard. They point out that the vast majority of women would be forced to change their chosen method of contraception or go without it, depending on the cost. The dissenting opinion indicated that while the owners of the company could go without contraceptives for themselves, they should not be able to force their religious beliefs on others.
It is important to note that the regulations surrounding birth control are still being contested even to this day. Even though this opinion issued back in 2014 is difficult for many women to process, the regulations surrounding birth control might be changing soon. There is a Supreme Court case that is going to be heard next month. It might have an impact on how employers issue health insurance to their employees.
Contraception is an important public health issue. Even though it is used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized embryo in the uterus, certain forms of contraception can also protect against sexually transmitted infections. Therefore, it is important for everyone to have access to safe, reliable forms of contraception. That was the intended goal of the ACA passed several years ago.