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For the past couple years, there has been some debate over religious entities being forced to pay for contraception coverage.

In what ways does the Affordable Care Act require people or companies to pay for contraception?

  • Does it affect people who buy their own insurance?
  • Does it only affect employers who provide insurance plans?
  • Does it affect how insurance companies have to do business?

*The purpose of this question is mainly to understand the core law behind the controversy. It's not intended to address political motivations or reasons that people object to the law.

*You can include information about political implications, but please only do so as a means of identifying the laws in question.

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Does it affect people who buy their own insurance?

Yes. Except for those plans grandfathered in under Section 1251 and pursuant regulations (This answer sums up those), Section 1302 of the PPACA requires that all insurance plans (except for those provided by "religious employers" as defined in 45 CFR 147.130(B)) must provide coverage for "Essential Health Benefits", including "preventative and wellness services", which includes contraceptives, among other things, without co-payments or having that cost count towards their deductable.

Does it only affect employers who provide insurance plans?

Yes. Employers who don't provide insurance plans are unaffected by these provisions. However, if they don't provide insurance, they may, depending on their number of employees and their FT/PT mix, get beaten about the head by the employer mandate penalties for that choice.

Does it affect how insurance companies have to do business?

The mandate means that insurance companies have to pay for preventative services, including birth control, in full, with no co-payments and that the cost of contraceptives does not count towards the plan's annual deductible, regardless of what level of plan the woman has.

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    And in #1, "must provide coverage" means "consumer must pay for that coverage via part of their premiums" – user4012 Nov 6 '13 at 7:29

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