Q. Do student health policies have to cover birth control without co-pays?
A. Yes. Policies that began on or after August 1, 2012, are required to provide all FDA-approved contraceptive methods for women, including sterilization, with no cost-sharing. That doesn’t mean that every birth control option for women is provided at no cost. Rather, it means at least one version of every type of contraceptive is covered at no cost to the patient.
Religious employers are exempt from the mandate to cover contraceptives for their employees. But religiously affiliated nonprofit employers such as universities and hospitals were not considered religious employers under the ACA. However, that position was challenged by Hobby Lobby in a highly-publicized case that ended up before the Supreme Court in 2015. The Court ruled that Hobby Lobby (and other “closely held” corporations with religious objections to some or all contraceptives) did not have to cover certain types of contraceptives under its health insurance plan. HHS quickly issued an accomodation that essentially creates a separate plan under which the women can obtain contraceptives as needed.