Zubik v. Burwell

Summarized by:

  • Court: United States Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Insurance Law
  • Date Filed: May 16, 2016
  • Case #: 15–833
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Per Curiam
  • Full Text Opinion

It is feasible for employers to contract with insurers to provide health care to their employees, excluding some or all types of contraception, and for those insurers to cover contraception to said employees, which effectively eliminates the employer's obligation to give notice of their objections of contraception coverage.

Petitioners, primarily composed of nonprofit organizations who give health insurance to their employees, objected to the federal notice requirements for objecting to birth control coverage that federal law otherwise requires that they cover. Petitioner's argued that submitting these notices violates the Religious Freedom Act by creating a substantial burden on their free exercise of religion. After oral arguments, the Court asked for additional briefing regarding whether petitioner's insurers could provide the coverage of certain contraception to the employees without requiring notice from Petitioners. The parties confirmed that such a scheme could exist and Petitioner's acknowledged that a substantial burden was not created by contracting an insurance company that did not cover some or all types of contraception without having to give notice. In light of the party's positions after additional briefing, the Supreme Court vacated the judgment and remanded to the lower courts, finding that this approach affords an opportunity to preserve religious beliefs while still permitting access to birth control. REVERSED and REMANDED.

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