California's expansive requirement for insurers to cover abortion and contraceptives (see "Uncovered
," California Lawyer
, June 2014) was unaffected by the U.S. Supreme Court's June 30 decision allowing some employers to deny workers contraceptive coverage. (See Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
, 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014).)
California law is also unaffected by the Court's order (issued three days later) letting a Christian college in Illinois avoid transferring the contraception obligation to its insurers, says Beth Parker, chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, citing the state's Women's Contraception Equity Act and the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan of 1975. (See Wheaton Coll. v. Burwell
, 134 S. Ct. 2806 (2014).)
"Unless they are a church, [California employers] have to provide contraceptive coverage," says Parker. Same for abortion.
But the Court did leave in limbo the attempts by Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara universities (both Catholic) to exclude coverage for "elective" abortions and some contraceptives. And Parker said the state's Department of Managed Health Care was considering rescinding its approval of insurance plans the schools requested that exclude the coverage.