Due to the Obama administration's rule requiring employers to cover birth control services via the health insurance plan they must offer their employees, religious affiliated entities have inspired passionate debate. Their claim – that the government is mandating that they support (pay for) services, which violate their religious beliefs, is a valid complaint. Conversely, on the other side of the issue, women claim they have the right to receive birth control coverage through their health insurance policies. In fact, they might claim that if their employer is religiously affiliated, the employer mandates that they cannot have this coverage. Both sides are right.
Our dilemma lies in that we cannot see a solution that can be considered a win for both sides. Women’s health needs exist whether politicians and employers agree to cover them or not. An employer’s religious beliefs exist whether the government, politicians, and others agree with them … or not. We must resolve this quagmire quickly as our nation has far too many other pressing issues to deal with at this time. There is a resolution available if we are strong enough to enact it.
This mandate takes effect on the wrong entities. Rather than require employers to support controversial coverage, the administration ought to focus on requiring all insurers to offer contraceptive services to all policyholders through a separate rider to the insured’s policy. The insured would decide to either; authorize an additional deduction from their net pay to the insurance company, or, arrange directly and privately with the insurance company to pay for the separate rider coverage.
Although this might prove a difficult adjustment for insurance companies, it does allow every woman who desires contraceptive coverage, the ability to receive it. Additionally, it allows women the ability to have the coverage discreetly. Further, this plan ends all mandated employer support for this coverage. One can assume that if an employer desires to support offering employees this coverage, they may continue to as they currently do so.
We must not look to our employers or our government for our health needs. They do not inherently have our interest at heart and we should not expect them to. We must look to our health insurers, as it is their job to cover these needs.