The Missouri Consolidated Healthcare Plan, the state-operated medical insurance plan for state employees, has announced this week that it will begin to offer health plans without contraception and sterilization coverage for those employees with a religious or moral objection.
The decision comes on the heels of new regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which expand the religious exemption to the federal contraceptive mandate issued in 2011 by the Obama administration. The decision by the Missouri state health plan affirms the efforts of the Missouri Catholic Conference and other organizations that worked to pass SB 749 in 2011. As passed, SB 749 prohibits health insurers from requiring Missouri consumers to pay for such coverage in their health plans if they have a religious or moral objection to such coverage.
The protections in SB 749 were superseded by the federal mandate, but are now in effect with the new federal regulation. “Sometimes it takes a few years for the legislative work of the MCC to come to fruition,” stated Mike Hoey, Executive Director of the MCC. “But when the work bears this fruit, it is sweet indeed.”
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