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5 Things Women Should Know About the Hobby Lobby Decision

One of These People
One of These People
Brigitte Amiri,
Deputy Director,
ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project
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July 2, 2014

Since the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby can deny contraceptive coverage to its female employees, a lot of people have questions about what that ruling means for women. While there are still some question marks, here are five things you need to know:

  1. Most women will not lose their health insurance coverage for contraception required by the Affordable Care Act. While the Hobby Lobby decision is devastating on many levels, most women will continue to have their birth control covered in their health plans without a co-pay or deductible.
  2. The Hobby Lobby decision allows closely held corporations – as defined by state and federal law – with religious objections to providing health insurance coverage for some or all forms of birth control to refuse to do so, even though this is required under the Affordable Care Act. Approximately 60.4 million people are employed by “closely held” corporations in the United States. We have no idea how many companies will take advantage of the Hobby Lobby ruling, but we hope it will not be many.
  3. In addition to the Affordable Care Act, 28 states have laws that require contraception coverage if an employer’s health plan covers other prescription drugs. These laws, however, do not apply to all health plans (self-insured plans are excluded), and unlike the Affordable Care Act requirement, may require you to pay a co-pay or a deductible. The Hobby Lobby decision doesn’t affect these laws.
  4. We don’t yet know what impact the case will have on other areas of the law, including anti-discrimination measures and insurance coverage for other health care. What we can be sure of is that businesses may now feel emboldened to assert religious objections to other laws. The question will then be how the courts will assess these companies’ potential claims.
  5. There is something we can do. This doesn’t end with the Supreme Court. Because the Hobby Lobby decision turned on the interpretation of a federal statute, Congress can fix this decision by changing the law. We call on Congress to do so.

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