St. James owner gets Obamacare reprieve
By Mike Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org December 31, 2013 4:42PM
Updated: February 3, 2014 3:32PM
The operator of St. James hospitals said Tuesday it had won a temporary reprieve from a requirement of the Affordable Care Act that its employee health insurance include free contraceptive care and products such as the morning-after pill.
Indiana-based Franciscan Alliance said a federal judge on Dec. 27 granted a preliminary injunction on its behalf as well as other plaintiffs that are challenging the requirement on grounds it violates their religious beliefs.
The Catholic health care provider operates hospitals in Indiana and Illinois and has more than 2,000 employees in Illinois. Along with St. James campuses in Chicago Heights and Olympia Fields, Franciscan Alliance operates St. Margaret hospital campuses in Hammond and Dyer, Ind.
In a news release, Franciscan Alliance said it had previously received a temporary exemption from the health care act requirement, but that, without the injunction, would had to have begun providing the coverage as of Wednesday.
Although churches are exempt from having to offer free contraceptive care, other faith-based nonprofits were not. They were not, however, required to pay for the coverage, but that cost was instead borne by their insurance provider.
Franciscan Alliance argued in its motion for the injunction that it was being required to “facilitate and serve as the conduit through which objectionable contraceptive products and services are ultimately provided to their employees, in violation of their unquestionably sincerely held religious beliefs,” according to the release.