Supreme Court Carves Out Religious Exemption to Contraceptive Mandate

The Supreme Court recently ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. that closely-held businesses could avoid complying with the ACA’s “contraceptive mandate” on religious grounds. The Court focused on the fact that the government could provide birth control with no cost-sharing in a way that would not violate Hobby Lobby’s owners’ religious beliefs. For example, it could require the government to pay for birth control or shift the cost to insurers.

Experts disagree about the impact of the ruling. Some commentators argue that the ruling only applies to the ACA’s rules on birth control. Others argue that it could allow employers to refuse to cover other services on religious grounds. As the effects of the ruling become more clear, religiously-affiliated business owners may wish to explore their options when it comes to providing birth control for their employees.

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