American Catholic Universities Notre Dame and Georgetown Will Continue Contraceptive Coverage in Insurance Plans Following Expanded Federal Exemption
On October 6, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services issued new rules expanding the ability for corporations to seek exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement. Later that month, the University of Notre Dame announced that it would end contraception coverage for students, faculty and staff on its insurance plans in accordance with its view of “the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.” This announcement was met with protests from students and employees of the university. Georgetown University, which only began offering contraceptive coverage on its health insurance plans after the creation of the Affordable Care Act, was similarly expected to end coverage and also met with protests. Both universities have now announced that they will not end coverage of contraceptives. Notre Dame publicly stated that it “made the decision not to interfere with the provision of contraceptives administered by insurance administrators and funded independently,” with its president adding that “the university’s interest has never been in preventing access to those who make conscientious decisions to use contraceptives.” Georgetown updated its health insurance website in early December without making an official comment, and the updated language makes clear that contraceptive coverage will be continued.