Filed Under:Health Insurance, Individual Health

How far will Hobby Lobby stretch?

Will nonprofit employers with clear-cut religious affiliations have to let workers get access to birth control benefits?

Possibly not.

Wheaton College, a Christian college, objects to having anything to do with the birth control benefits mandate that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) put in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) preventive services package.

HHS has freed nonprofit religious schools from having to pay for birth control benefits. Insurers are supposed to provide the benefits for workers at nonprofit religious employers at no charge to the workers or the employers.

When the U.S. Supreme Court decided last week to let Hobby Lobby and other closely held for-profit employers avoid complying with the HHS birth control mandate, they pointed to the no-pay system for nonprofit religious employers as an example of the kind of arrangement HHS could offer Hobby Lobby.

But Wheaton says it believes having to agree to the no-pay birth control benefits system would violate its religious beliefs.

Warren Richey writes in The Christian Science Monitor that the court has issued an order freeing Wheaton from having to comply with any HHS birth control mandate rules while a suit challenging the rules is still under way.

—Allison Bell

The Supreme Court is temporarily freeing Wheaton from even an indirect mandate.

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