April 5, 2013 — A federal judge on Tuesday granted a preliminary injunction allowing Minnesota-based American Manufacturing to avoid complying with the federal contraceptive coverage rules, the St. Cloud Times reports (Willms, St. Cloud Times, 4/3).
The rules, which are being implemented under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), require that most health plans cover contraceptive services. Religious entities such as churches and other houses of worship are exempt from the requirements. In February, the Obama administration proposed an accommodation for religiously affiliated employers that would ensure that their health plans do not have to pay for contraceptive coverage. However, the accommodation was not extended to for-profit businesses (Women's Health Policy Report, 3/27).
The owner of American Manufacturing -- Greg Hall, a Catholic deacon -- objected to offering contraceptive coverage to his employees because he believes that it is "morally offensive and objectionable," according to his lawyer, Thomas Mathews.
Hall has worked with the company's health insurer, Medica, to remove the coverage from an existing group health plan (St. Cloud Times, 4/3).