On January 17, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments over the legality of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. This is the third case on the mandate to receive Supreme Court review. The ACA requires employer-sponsored group health plans to provide contraceptive coverage at no additional cost to plan participants.
The current appeal involves objections on moral grounds by religious organizations to the mandate. The case involves conflicts between the ACA and religious freedom laws, including regulations adopted by the Trump administration that would allow employers to opt out of the mandate for religious reasons. In its Hobby Lobby decision, the Court created an exception from the mandate for closely-held corporations whose owners expressed religious-based objections to the mandate. The Trump regulations would expand these exemptions to nonprofit and other privately-held corporations or organizations with similar objections. Those regulations were enjoined by two federal appellate courts as inconsistent with Hobby Lobby and the ACA.
The Supreme Court may hear oral arguments on this case as early as the Spring. A decision may come at the end of the current Court term in June, or at the beginning of the next term in October.