President Donald Trump has slashed the Obama-era rule mandating that employer-provided health insurance plans cover birth control at no expense for their female employees. Trump's Health and Human Services have issued an exemption to the Obama-era rule that gives employers a waiver so long as they have a 'moral' or 'religious' objection to providing birth control according to NPR.
Many think that this new policy by the Trump administration will give businesses an easy way of out of providing birth control to their employees.
But some health policy analysts say the new rule creates a huge opening that lets any employer claim an exemption, leaving their female workers to pay the full cost of any birth control out of pocket. "It is a huge loophole for any employer that does not want to provide birth control coverage to their employees," says Dania Palanker, a professor at Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reform.
The Trump administration claims few will be affected by this waiver.
HHS officials said they don't expect many companies to seek waivers. They said the group seeking waivers will likely be limited to those about 200 companies and nonprofits that have already sued. But Palanker says the impact could be a lot bigger. There are a lot of large private companies, she says, whose owners may hold strong religious beliefs but did not want the publicity and expense of suing the federal government. "A lot of women will retain birth control coverage," Palanker says, "but there will be a lot of women who will lose that coverage."