Birth control: Trump expands opt-out for workplace insurance - KCTV5 News

Birth control: Trump expands opt-out for workplace insurance

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(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

WASHINGTON (KCTV5/AP) — The Trump administration is allowing more employers to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women for religious and moral reasons.

The administration has issued a long-expected revision to Obama-era rules. The rules require most companies to provide birth control as preventive care for women, at no additional cost. Under the Affordable Care Act, preventive services are supposed to be free of charge to employees and their dependents.

The Trump administration's revision issued Friday expands a religious exemption that previously applied to houses of worship, religiously affiliated nonprofit groups, and closely-held private companies.

Local gynecologists said the reaction from women was clear.

“We saw a lot more women thinking about long-acting contraceptive devices, just being proactive in case they lost coverage,” explained Amanda Healy, an M.D. and OB/GYN.

Now that the rules have changed, Healy said there may be a renewed rush on procedures.

“I know it’s supposed to only be a small number of companies initially,” she said. “It certainly opens the door for more reduced access.”

Healy isn’t the only one with eyes on the changes.

Planned Parenthood Great Plains said the latest move is something that has to be addressed head-on.

“This new rule is a direct and discriminatory attack against women,” said Bon-yen Lee-Gilmore with PPGP. “This is a tax on women. We don't see men getting taxed for their reproductive needs when it comes to erectile dysfunction or getting Viagra, so it's frustrating to see the continued attacks against women and their access to healthcare.”

Not everyone says that’s the case, however.

Greg Baylor with the Alliance Defending Freedom said the ruling is the administration respecting the conscience of businesses rather than violating them. He pointed out a study by The Department of Health and Human Services that says 99.9 percent of women in the United States will be unaffected by the rule.

“Only a very small percentage of American employers have an objection to this and, at the same time, there are plenty of methods of access to contraceptives that are made available through the government,” he said. “The government itself conceded that in a Supreme Court briefing, so we don't think this will have the adverse effect that some are scaremongering about.”

The share of women employees paying their own money for birth control pills has plunged to under 4 percent, from 21 percent, since contraception became a covered preventive health benefit, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Today's new rules go into effect immediately.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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