The Implications of the Most Recent Challenge to the ACA’s Preventive Care Requirement Could Affect Millions

A new brief explains the implications of the most recent legal challenge contesting the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) requirement that most private insurance plans cover specific preventive care items and services—such as contraceptive services and supplies, and cancer screenings—at no cost to patients. In Braidwood Management v. Becerra, two Christian-owned businesses and six individuals in Texas have challenged the legality of the preventive care mandates on constitutional grounds. The plaintiffs are also challenging the requirement to cover medication to prevent HIV, on religious grounds.

In September, a District Court judge ruled partly in favor of the plaintiffs and partly in favor of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, but the court has asked the parties for an additional briefing before it issues a final decision. The preventive services coverage policy remains in effect, but since the litigation is ongoing, changes may be forthcoming.

Ultimately, if the plaintiffs succeed on either constitutional or religious claims, the government may no longer be able to require insurance plans to cover certain preventive services and items at no cost to patients. Insurers and employers would once again have discretion over whether to cover preventive services, resulting in lower premiums in some cases but also a patchwork of coverage. Any rollback of the government’s ability to enforce these requirements could impact the millions of people covered by private insurance. The outcome of this case could also have broader ramifications for the authority of federal agencies to address a wide range of issues through regulation.

Learn more about the implications of Braidwood Management Inc. v. Becerra in the brief, “Explaining Litigation Challenging the ACA’s Preventive Services Requirements” and read this fact sheet summarizing federal requirements for preventive services coverage, major updates, and recent policy activities. Additional resources include our Preventive Services Tracker, which presents up-to-date information on the adult preventive services that private insurance plans must cover.

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