White House to change process for opting out of birth-control mandate

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The White House is developing a workaround to let religious nonprofits opt out of ObamaCare's contraception mandate without filing a form they say violates their religious beliefs, according to a senior administration official.

Religious nonprofits that do not want to provide free contraception to their workers can now opt out by submitting a Form 700 stating their religious objection to contraception. Insurance companies can then use the form to provide free contraception to workers and get tax credits from the government in return.

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However, some religious organizations have objected to filling out the form because they argue it amounts to participation in providing birth control.

On Tuesday, a senior administration official said they are working on an alternative option for religious nonprofits that do not want to fill out the document and will issue a federal regulation in the next month.

While the officials provided no further details, they emphasized the regulation will not shift the burden of paying for contraception to the employees.

The news comes after the Supreme Court issued an injunction in favor of Wheaton College, an evangelical institution in Illinois that will not have to fill out the third-party form while the high court makes its ruling, which isn't expected until at least fall.

“The administration believes the accommodation is legally sound but in light of the Supreme Court order regarding Wheaton College, the departments intend to augment their regulations to provide an alternative way for objecting nonprofit religious organizations to provide notification, while ensuring that enrollees in plans of such organizations receive separate coverage of contraceptive services without cost sharing," said a senior administration official.

— This story was updated at 10:20 a.m.

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