In response to the rulings by the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), issued new rules on Aug. 22, 2014. The newly appointed HHS Secretary, Sylvia Burwell, said, “The rules, which are in response to recent court decisions, balance our commitment to helping ensure women have continued access to coverage for preventive services important to their health, with the Administration’s goal of respecting religious beliefs.”
Ostensibly, the new policies are intended to cure the issues in Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College. With the new rules, employees of for profit corporations like Hobby Lobby will be able to access an “accommodation” where the insurance company directly provides at no additional cost to the employee coverage with no financial involvement by the employer. This coverage is particularly relevant with respect to certain employers who choose not to provide coverage to their employees for certain preventative, contraception. For nonprofits, like Wheaton College, that object to even that accommodation (which was permitted for closely-held corporations like Hobby Lobby), HHS has essentially created an accommodation to the Hobby Lobby accommodation.