A Reminder for Companies That End Contraceptive Services Coverage
Posted at 9:24 a.m. on July 18, 2014
The Senate on Wednesday did not advance a predominantly Democratic-led measure that would roll back the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision on contraceptive services coverage for “closely held” companies. On Thursday, the administration quietly offered its own response through a joint agency update to a series of Department of Labor guidance notices on the ongoing implementation of the health care overhaul law.
Here is the response to a FAQ inquiry about notification requirements for companies choosing to cease providing coverage for contraceptive services:
For plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), ERISA requires disclosure of information relevant to coverage of preventive services, including contraceptive coverage. Specifically, the Department of Labor’s longstanding regulations at 29 CFR 2520.102-3(j)(3) provide that, the summary plan description (SPD) shall include a description of the extent to which preventive services (which includes contraceptive services) are covered under the plan. Accordingly, if an ERISA plan excludes all or a subset of contraceptive services from coverage under its group health plan, the plan’s SPD must describe the extent of the limitation or exclusion of coverage. For plans that reduce or eliminate coverage of contraceptive services after having provided such coverage, expedited disclosure requirements for material reductions in covered services or benefits apply. See ERISA section 104(b)(1) and 29 CFR 2520.104b-3(d)(1), which generally require disclosure not later than 60 days after the date of adoption of a modification or change to the plan that is a material reduction in covered services or benefits. Other disclosure requirements may apply, for example, under State insurance law applicable to health insurance issuers.