AP Blog

By Jason Wissmiller, 09/28/2020
Following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, most insurers who had been offering coverage for War Risk exposures (which typically includes terrorism) quickly canceled those endorsements, per the coverage cancellation terms noted on the endorsements. The market for terrorism related coverage dried up almost...
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By Brian Lindahl, 09/24/2020
As senior living providers prepare for approaching renewal periods, we wanted to provide an update on our view of the changing marketplace. This will aid you and your team in determining your risk tolerance appetite and preparing your budgets for potential increased costs and decreased coverage. Unfortunately,...
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By Jim Stevenson, 09/23/2020
Does employment status really matter? The Internal Revenue Service says “yes” but the Service Contract Act says “no” when the Department of Labor enforces The Act. The Internal Revenue Service says employee status is important because it determines if the federal service contractor must...
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By Gina Ekstam, 09/22/2020
Proactive loss control is an effective approach to helping agribusinesses reduce risk, improve product quality, increase production, and boost employee morale and retention. Loss control requires top-down commitment, from management to safety directors to employees. To be successful, there needs to be a culture...
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By John Tankersley, 09/21/2020
When it comes to insuring your manufactured / mobile home, the rules are different than a standard homeowner’s policy. Most people think when it comes to insuring one’s home that it’s all pretty much the same – call your local agent, give your address and some basic information about the...
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By Nathanael Alexander, Esq., 09/17/2020
Updating a previous article, as of Friday, September 11, 2020 the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has indeed decided to move forward with issuing revised regulations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) after a New York federal district court struck down several of the previous provisions of...
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By David Stein, 09/16/2020
The current economic climate is forcing producers and service contractors to take a hard look at insurance costs. Usually, the first (and easiest) step is to engage their broker to market the insurance program with alternate carriers. Competition will either drive down costs or validate the current placement....
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By Brian Lindahl, 09/15/2020
As an insurance and risk management partner to hundreds of assisted living communities across the country, we would like to extend an extra special “Thank You” to our assisted living clients for providing essential care and services to those in need. In appreciation of all that you and your team...
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By Rocky Roemer, 09/14/2020
Commercial automobile insurance as a segment of the insurance industry has been consistently unprofitable for around a decade. It’s a triple-whammy: Increasing frequency - due in part to distracted driving Higher loss costs (driven up by increased prices and complexity of the vehicles themselves) ...
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By Nathanael Alexander, Esq., 09/10/2020
As annual open enrollment time swiftly approaches, we wanted to take some time to note some of the COBRA considerations to be aware in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly as it pertains to changing carriers/vendors during this turbulent time. The federal government issued guidance regarding COBRA...
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Supreme Court Votes to Allow Employers to Opt-Out of ACA Birth Control Mandate but to Be Continued...
07/14/2020

On July 8, 2020, by a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in their Little Sisters of the Poor decision upheld Trump administration rules permitting employers to decline contraceptive coverage (including preventative health services, birth control pills, IUDs, etc.) on the basis of sincerely held religious or moral grounds.

The Trump administration, for some time now, has been working to allow certain organizations to opt-out of offering birth control to employees without also providing an alternate coverage arrangement and this ruling is certainly a tentative fulfillment of those efforts. Short of additional litigation on the matter to come, the Court’s decision here would effectively make it more difficult for women to obtain access to birth control and will increase their yearly out-of-pocket costs as well if their employer decides to drop coverage. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that the average annual cost of contraception per woman per year is $584. In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg noted governmental statistics which estimated that “between 70,500 and 126,400 women would immediately lose access to no-cost contraceptive services”, asserting that the SCOTUS was placing a precedence on religious rights in this instance.

Some background here, as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) already guaranteed an exemption from the birth control mandate for religious organizations such as churches and synagogues. However, it did not likewise extend the same automatic exemption to religiously affiliated colleges and universities, charities, and hospitals, for example. These religiously affiliated organizations previously would have needed to offer no-cost birth control options to employees on an individual basis outside of the employer-sponsored health plan should they claim religious or moral objection. That will no longer be required if this decision is upheld upon further review from the lower courts to which this case has been remanded, with Justice Thomas writing on behalf of the majority that the Trump administration "…had the authority to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections." Under the Trump administration’s new proposals, essentially all employers will now have the opportunity to drop contraceptive coverage should they decide to do so. 

We will provide updates on this as the situation develops, as it will likely have a potentially large impact on the world of health and welfare benefits.