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(Reuters) -The U.S. government on Monday proposed a new rule allowing women enrolled in Obamacare plans to get access to birth control even if their employer, school or health plan objects on religious grounds.
The rule could help expand coverage for “tens of millions of women across the country” who have access to birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) said.
Contraceptives have been in focus since abortion rights were sharply curtailed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the landmark Roe v Wade ruling.
Under 2018 rules, some women and covered dependents could get contraceptive access only if their plan sponsor voluntarily signs a form saying the organization would not cover contraceptive services on religious or moral grounds.
That left many women without access to no-cost birth control if their sponsor did not sign the form, the HHS said.
The new rule seeks to make a pathway that would allow women access to contraceptives through a willing provider at no cost even if the sponsor objects and refuses to sign the form.
The rule would also remove moral exemptions granted to private health plans and insurers to exclude coverage of contraceptive services.
Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Devika Syamnath