July 9, 2020
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Little Sister of the Poor v. Pennsylvania. In its decision, the court upheld the Trump Administration’s rule that permits employers to deny employees coverage for contraceptives based on the employer’s religious or moral beliefs:
“We are carefully reviewing the Supreme Court ruling, but Washington state has a long history of protecting the health care rights of women and I intend to continue that commitment. Yesterday’s ruling appears to create the risk that for some women, the right to contraception will depend on their employer’s whims and not their own health needs. However, for all plans that are regulated by my office, we will continue to protect women’s reproductive rights.
“All state-regulated health plans are still required to provide benefits under the Affordable Care Act and state law, including contraceptive coverage. Our state conscience clause allows any employer, religiously-sponsored health insurer, provider, or facility to object to providing or paying for a particular service on the basis of religious or moral belief. However, the right of the enrollee to access that covered service is also protected.”
- State-regulated health plans include individual, small employer, large employer and student health plans. Self-funded health plans used by many larger employers are exempt from state law. If you’re unsure of what type of employer-sponsored health plan you have, contact your Human Resources department.
- Under a new state law that took effect on June 11, all state-regulated health plans are required to tell enrollees which mandatory services are excluded by their employer or insurer. But insurers also must let the enrollee know they still have the right to those covered benefits and how to access them in a timely manner.