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Supreme Court Sides with Employers and Not Administration in Hobby Lobby Decision

March 2017

In a 5-4 decision announced today in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. ("Hobby Lobby") (f/k/a Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.), the United States Supreme Court (the "Court") ruled that the federal government erred in requiring for-profit, faith-based employers to pay for certain forms of birth control that contradicted their religious beliefs.

The Court found that the government violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 ("RFRA") by requiring faith-based employers to provide certain forms of birth control as part of the preventive services requirements included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the "ACA").

Among its many insurance mandates, the ACA requires non-grandfathered health insurance plans to cover "preventive services" at no cost to participants.

The Hobby Lobby decision should stand as a reminder that while there may be differences of opinion about specific rules and requirements under the ACA, and some of those differences may be decided against the government, the law itself is not going away. Employers need to continue to monitor new developments and implement strategies for complying with the ACA. To learn more about the impact of this and other health care reform decisions, please visit Peel & Holland University, where we have posted a document titled Supreme Court Sides with Employers and Not Administration in Hobby Lobby Decision.

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