Religious Birth Control Exemption– Checkmate?

Just a thought on insurance plans that exclude contraception coverage–

The way insurance makes a profit is to recruit a ‘risk pool’ of customers who on average pay for more than they use. One practice is to ‘cherry pick’ the young and healthy. This can be good business if it’s fair and transparent– unethical and destructive if people find out their insurance has bailed as soon as they need it. In fact, cutting off benefits is one abuse the Affordable Care Act was designed to remedy.

So, an insurance plan that offers contraception coverage will be a benefit to women of childbearing age– teens to forties. This risk pool is in general healthier than the fifty and older demographic. They would also have fewer pregnancies than women whose religious beliefs ban contraception. And contraception is cheaper than pregnancy.

So the plan with contraception coverage would be a benefit to the type of customers a profit-minded insurance plan wants to recruit.

Is this a game of three-dimensional chess from the Obama administration? What do you think?

Amanda Marcotte at Slate.com thinks that the Obama administration is offering a ‘compromise’ that keeps women’s access to contraception between themselves and their insurance– without their employer getting up close and in their personal business.

Unless there’s some invisible bureaucratic weirdness going on that’s not being reported, nothing has changed. Non-profits like universities and hospitals that are religiously affiliated will not cover contraception in their group plan, but the insurance company will provide the coverage directly to the employees and covered spouses. The anti-choicers will continue to complain, because even though this arrangement leaves the contraception choice between a woman and her insurance company, they’re eager to exploit any angle they can to separate women from their birth control. The good news, though, is that despite the headlines, there’s no reason to think the administration has caved to religious fundamentalists.

It’s important to know that ‘conscience’ that costs the conscientious nothing but falls heavily on a woman in crisis can still interfere with her health care. Women who go to an emergency room after being raped are not universally offered emergency contraception, even though that is the standard of care.

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