Who is exempt from health law's mandate to have insurance?

The Miami Herald looks at the religious groups that pool their money to pay medical expenses and whose members are therefore exempt from the law's requirement to carry insurance. Other stories look at the "drafting error" that is the basis of a legal challenge to the law's subsidies and the administration's latest accommodation on the contraceptive mandate.

Miami Herald: Affordable Care Act Exemptions Mean Millions Don't Have To Sign Up
Although as many as 30 million Americans will remain without health insurance by 2016, despite the best efforts of the ACA's proponents, all but about seven million of them will be spared having to join the new system because of exemptions created by the act itself, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation. The exempted religious organizations generally pool their members' money to pay the medical expenses of anyone in the group who gets sick, injured or becomes pregnant. Also exempted from the law are members of federally recognized religious sects who have religious objections to insurance or to such systems as Social Security or Medicare (Madigan, 8/25).

Los Angeles Times: Could A Wording 'Glitch' Doom Obama's Healthcare Law?
In 2009, they had spent months piecing together a compromise that sought to create a national system of subsidized insurance -- but one run by the states. Now, they fear their work could be undone by what some call a "drafting error" and others portray as a political miscalculation. The judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit based their ruling on language saying that subsidies would be offered for health policies bought through an "exchange established by the state." That wording meant only marketplaces established by 14 states, including California, would qualify, the three-judge panel ruled; 5 million people in 36 states where consumers used the federal government's exchange should not get subsidies (Savage, 8/25).

Kaiser Health News: New Birth Control Rules Appear To Track Supreme Court Suggestion
Those who favor women being guaranteed no-cost birth control coverage under their health insurance say the new rules for nonprofit religious organizations issued by the Obama administration simply put into force what the Supreme Court suggested last month (Rovner, 8/25).

Kaiser Health News: FAQ: Administration's New Contraception Rules Explained
The regulations unveiled Friday would allow religiously affiliated employers to notify the government -- rather than their insurer -- of their objections to the law's coverage of birth control. The government will then notify the insurer to provide the contraception coverage. A second rule suggests the administration will allow the same mechanism for some businesses that object to contraception on religious grounds but seeks public comment on how to identify businesses to be included (Carey, 8/26).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



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