45 CFR 147.131 - Exemption and accommodations in connection with coverage of preventive health services.
(a)Religious employers. In issuing guidelines under § 147.130(a)(1)(iv), the Health Resources and Services Administration may establish an exemption from such guidelines with respect to a group health plan established or maintained by a religious employer (and health insurance coverage provided in connection with a group health plan established or maintained by a religious employer) with respect to any requirement to cover contraceptive services under such guidelines. For purposes of this paragraph (a), a “religious employer” is an organization that is organized and operates as a nonprofit entity and is referred to in section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.
(b)Eligible organizations. An eligible organization is an organization that meets the criteria of paragraphs (b)(1) through (3) of this section.
(1) The organization opposes providing coverage for some or all of any contraceptive items or services required to be covered under § 147.130(a)(1)(iv) on account of religious objections.
(i) The organization is organized and operates as a nonprofit entity and holds itself out as a religious organization; or
(ii) The organization is organized and operates as a closely held for-profit entity, as defined in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, and the organization's highest governing body (such as its board of directors, board of trustees, or owners, if managed directly by its owners) has adopted a resolution or similar action, under the organization's applicable rules of governance and consistent with state law, establishing that it objects to covering some or all of the contraceptive services on account of the owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.
(3) The organization must self-certify in the form and manner specified by the Secretary of Labor or provide notice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services as described in paragraph (c) of this section. The organization must make such self-certification or notice available for examination upon request by the first day of the first plan year to which the accommodation in paragraph (c) of this section applies. The self-certification or notice must be executed by a person authorized to make the certification or notice on behalf of the organization, and must be maintained in a manner consistent with the record retention requirements under section 107 of ERISA.
(4) A closely held for-profit entity is an entity that -
(i) Is not a nonprofit entity;
(ii) Has no publicly traded ownership interests (for this purpose, a publicly traded ownership interest is any class of common equity securities required to be registered under section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934); and
(iii) Has more than 50 percent of the value of its ownership interest owned directly or indirectly by five or fewer individuals, or has an ownership structure that is substantially similar thereto, as of the date of the entity's self-certification or notice described in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section.
(iv) For the purpose of the calculation in paragraph (b)(4)(iii) of this section, the following rules apply:
(A) Ownership interests owned by a corporation, partnership, estate, or trust are considered owned proportionately by such entity's shareholders, partners, or beneficiaries. Ownership interests owned by a nonprofit entity are considered owned by a single owner.
(B) An individual is considered to own the ownership interests owned, directly or indirectly, by or for his or her family. Family includes only brothers and sisters (including half-brothers and half-sisters), a spouse, ancestors, and lineal descendants.
(C) If a person holds an option to purchase ownership interests, he or she is considered to be the owner of those ownership interests.
(v) A for-profit entity that seeks further information regarding whether it qualifies for the accommodation described in this section may send a letter describing its ownership structure to the Department of Health and Human Services. An entity must submit the letter in the manner described by the Department of Health and Human Services. If the entity does not receive a response from the Department of Health and Human Services to a properly submitted letter describing the entity's current ownership structure within 60 calendar days, as long as the entity maintains that structure it will be considered to meet the requirement set forth in paragraph (b)(4)(iii) of this section.
(c)Contraceptive coverage - insured group health plans -
(1)General rule. A group health plan established or maintained by an eligible organization that provides benefits through one or more group health insurance issuers complies for one or more plan years with any requirement under § 147.130(a)(1)(iv) to provide contraceptive coverage if the eligible organization or group health plan provides either a copy of the self-certification to each issuer providing coverage in connection with the plan or a notice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services that it is an eligible organization and of its religious objection to coverage for all or a subset of contraceptive services.
(i) When a self-certification is provided directly to an issuer, the issuer has sole responsibility for providing such coverage in accordance with § 147.130. An issuer may not require any further documentation from the eligible organization regarding its status as such.
(ii) When a notice is provided to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the notice must include the name of the eligible organization and the basis on which it qualifies for an accommodation; its objection based on its sincerely held religious beliefs to coverage of some or all contraceptive services, as applicable (including an identification of the subset of contraceptive services to which coverage the eligible organization objects, if applicable); the plan name and type (i.e., whether it is a student health insurance plan within the meaning of § 147.145(a) or a church plan within the meaning of ERISA section 3(33)); and the name and contact information for any of the plan's third party administrators and health insurance issuers. If there is a change in any of the information required to be included in the notice, the organization must provide updated information to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Department of Health and Human Services will send a separate notification to each of the plan's health insurance issuers informing the issuer that the Secretary of Health and Human Services has received a notice under paragraph (c)(1) of this section and describing the obligations of the issuer under this section.
(2)Payments for contraceptive services - (i) A group health insurance issuer that receives a copy of the self-certification or notification described in paragraph (c)(1)(ii) of this section with respect to a group health plan established or maintained by an eligible organization in connection with which the issuer would otherwise provide contraceptive coverage under § 147.130(a)(1)(iv) must -
(ii) With respect to payments for contraceptive services, the issuer may not impose any cost-sharing requirements (such as a copayment, coinsurance, or a deductible), or impose any premium, fee, or other charge, or any portion thereof, directly or indirectly, on the eligible organization, the group health plan, or plan participants or beneficiaries. The issuer must segregate premium revenue collected from the eligible organization from the monies used to provide payments for contraceptive services. The issuer must provide payments for contraceptive services in a manner that is consistent with the requirements under sections 2706, 2709, 2711, 2713, 2719, and 2719A of the PHS Act. If the group health plan of the eligible organization provides coverage for some but not all of any contraceptive services required to be covered under § 147.130(a)(1)(iv), the issuer is required to provide payments only for those contraceptive services for which the group health plan does not provide coverage. However, the issuer may provide payments for all contraceptive services, at the issuer's option.
(d)Notice of availability of separate payments for contraceptive services - insured group health plans and student health insurance coverage. For each plan year to which the accommodation in paragraph (c) of this section is to apply, an issuer required to provide payments for contraceptive services pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section must provide to plan participants and beneficiaries written notice of the availability of separate payments for contraceptive services contemporaneous with (to the extent possible), but separate from, any application materials distributed in connection with enrollment (or re-enrollment) in group health coverage that is effective beginning on the first day of each applicable plan year. The notice must specify that the eligible organization does not administer or fund contraceptive benefits, but that the issuer provides separate payments for contraceptive services, and must provide contact information for questions and complaints. The following model language, or substantially similar language, may be used to satisfy the notice requirement of this paragraph (d): “Your [employer/institution of higher education] has certified that your [group health plan/student health insurance coverage] qualifies for an accommodation with respect to the federal requirement to cover all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive services for women, as prescribed by a health care provider, without cost sharing. This means that your [employer/institution of higher education] will not contract, arrange, pay, or refer for contraceptive coverage. Instead, [name of health insurance issuer] will provide separate payments for contraceptive services that you use, without cost sharing and at no other cost, for so long as you are enrolled in your [group health plan/student health insurance coverage]. Your [employer/institution of higher education] will not administer or fund these payments. If you have any questions about this notice, contact [contact information for health insurance issuer].”
(e)Reliance - (1) If an issuer relies reasonably and in good faith on a representation by the eligible organization as to its eligibility for the accommodation in paragraph (c) of this section, and the representation is later determined to be incorrect, the issuer is considered to comply with any requirement under § 147.130(a)(1)(iv) to provide contraceptive coverage if the issuer complies with the obligations under this section applicable to such issuer.
(2) A group health plan is considered to comply with any requirement under § 147.130(a)(1)(iv) to provide contraceptive coverage if the plan complies with its obligations under paragraph (c) of this section, without regard to whether the issuer complies with the obligations under this section applicable to such issuer.
(f)Application to student health insurance coverage. The provisions of this section apply to student health insurance coverage arranged by an eligible organization that is an institution of higher education as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1002 in a manner comparable to that in which they apply to group health insurance coverage provided in connection with a group health plan established or maintained by an eligible organization that is an employer. In applying this section in the case of student health insurance coverage, a reference to “plan participants and beneficiaries” is a reference to student enrollees and their covered dependents.