The delay of the employer mandate until 2015 will not delay the enforcement of the contraceptive mandate, according to Matt Bowman, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, which is involved in many of the 60 lawsuits against the contraceptive mandate. The employer mandate is enforced separately from the mandate for certain preventative services.
In other words, the government has delayed fines for companies that don’t provide health insurance to their employees. But it is not delaying the fines for those companies that do provide insurance but exclude contraceptive and abortifacient drugs.
With the delay announced Tuesday evening, the government will begin in 2015 exacting fines from companies not offering insurance on an annual basis. But beginning in 2014, it will exact daily fines—per employee—from religious nonprofits that do not offer the proper preventative services, including contraceptives, in their coverage. The daily fines for the contraceptive mandate are already applicable to for-profit companies. That’s why Hobby Lobby faces about $1.3 million in daily fines (or about $475 million a year) for not providing contraceptives to employees—though it recently won a temporary reprieve at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The contraceptive mandate was to go into effect for religious nonprofits on August 1, but in announcing the final regulations last week, the Department of Health and Human Services delayed enforcement until Jan. 1, 2014.