147747-1:n:01/30/2013:PMG/tj LRS2013-497




HB108
By Representative Greer
RFD Insurance
Rd 1 05-FEB-13


SYNOPSIS:This bill would create The Religious Liberty Act of 2013.
 With certain exceptions, this bill would provide that a religiously affiliated or motivated employer shall not be required to provide contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods to its employees directly, through any insurance policy or in any other way, and may require its insurer to provide an insurance policy without coverage for contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods because providing or paying for coverage of these drugs, devices, or methods is contrary to the beliefs of the religiously affiliated or motivated employer offering the plan.
 Additionally, no provision of this bill shall be construed to authorize a religiously affiliated or motivated employer to obtain an employee’s protected health information or to violate the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or any federal regulations adopted pursuant to that act.

A BILL
TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT

Related to insurance coverage; to create The Religious Liberty Act of 2013; to provide, with certain exceptions, that a religiously affiliated or motivated employer shall not be required to provide contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods to its employees directly, through any insurance policy or in any other way, and may require its insurer to provide an insurance policy without coverage for contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods because providing or paying for coverage of these drugs, devices, or methods is contrary to the beliefs of the religiously affiliated or motivated employer offering the plan; and to provide that no provision of this bill shall be construed to authorize a religiously affiliated or motivated employer to obtain an employee’s protected health information or to violate the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or any federal regulations adopted pursuant to that act.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:

Section 1. This act may be known and shall be cited as The Religious Liberty Act of 2013.

Section 2. The Legislature finds as follows:

(1) The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reserves to the states powers to regulate on behalf of their citizens.

(2) The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the fundamental right of freedom of religion of the citizens of the United States.

(3) The Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment, Amendment 622 to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, now appearing as Section 3.01 of the Official Recompilation of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, as amended, protects the free exercise of religion rights of Alabama citizens by prohibiting the government from burdening a person’s freedom of religion unless it is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is done in the least restrictive means.

(4) As a benefit to its citizens, the Alabama Legislature has provided through Title 10A, Code of Alabama 1975, choice of entities through which Alabama citizens may conduct their business and nonprofit activities.

(5) The majority of these entities are owned by individuals as closely held entities which provide the benefits and protections inherent to the choice of a business or nonprofit entity.

(6) By choosing to operate through an entity, a citizen does not abandon protected constitutional rights, including religious beliefs.

(7) Religious beliefs dictate to the conscience of citizens a code of ethics and conduct, whether personal or business, and no law shall require a citizen to abandon those beliefs because he or she is operating as an entity in conformity with Alabama law.

(8) There is no legal authority that precludes the State of Alabama from protecting the religious beliefs of its citizens, even when they may conduct business through an entity.

(9) A citizen may not be required to choose between using an entity for lawful reasons and his or her religious beliefs.

(10) With the expansion of health care requirements in federal and state law, issues related to contraception and abortion burden the religious beliefs of individuals and business entities as employers in Alabama.

(11) While legal requirements for health care are important, no government has a compelling interest that requires a citizen to violate his or her religious beliefs regarding contraception and abortion.

Section 3. It is the purpose of the Alabama Legislature to provide protection to Alabama employers, as entities, from being required in violation of their religious beliefs to provide contraceptive and abortifacient health care services, including through insurance programs that may be provided by insurers through either voluntary or mandated insurance coverage requirements.

Section 4. For the purposes of this act, the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings:

(1) CONTRACEPTIVE OR ABORTIFACIENT DRUGS, DEVICES, OR METHODS. Oral, implant, diaphragm, or injectible drugs, intrauterine devices, prescription barrier methods, and emergency contraceptives and abortifacients; and consultations, examinations, procedures, and medical services related to the use of prescription contraceptive or abortifacient methods to prevent or terminate pregnancies.

(2) HEALTH CARE PROVIDER. A person who is licensed, certified, registered, or otherwise authorized by the law of this state to administer or provide health care in the ordinary course of business or in the practice of a profession.

(3) INSURER. Every person engaged as indemnitor, surety, or contractor in the business of entering into contracts of insurance. For purposes of this definition, the term "person" shall be defined as an individual, insurer, exchange, company, corporation, association, organization, Lloyd's insurer, society, reciprocal insurer, or interinsurance exchange, partnership, syndicate, business trust, corporation, and every legal entity.

(4) INSURANCE POLICY. A written contract of, or written agreement for, or effecting, insurance, by whatever name called, and includes all clauses, riders, endorsements, and papers attached, or issued and delivered for attachment thereto and made a part thereof.

(5) ENTITY. Any business or nonprofit entity as defined by Title 10A, Code of Alabama 1975, as amended.

(6) RELIGIOUSLY AFFILIATED OR MOTIVATED EMPLOYER. An entity that meets either of the following:

a. Any entity that is operated as a church, ministry, or other organization with religious tenets, objectives or motivations.

b. Any entity that has 10 or less shareholders, members, or partners who have religious beliefs which oppose contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods.

Section 5. (a) A religiously affiliated or motivated employer shall not be required to provide contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods to its employees directly, through any insurance policy, or in any other way.

(b) A religiously affiliated or motivated employer may require its insurer to provide an insurance policy without coverage for contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods because providing or paying for coverage of these drugs, devices, or methods is contrary to the beliefs of the religiously affiliated or motivated employer offering the plan.

(c) If a religiously affiliated or motivated employer objects to providing coverage for contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods, the employer shall file with its insurer a written affidavit stating its objection. On receipt of the affidavit, the insurer shall issue to the religiously affiliated or motivated employer an insurance policy that excludes coverage for contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods. The insurer shall retain the affidavit for the duration of the insurance policy and any renewals of the insurance policy.

(d) This section shall not exclude coverage for contraceptive or abortifacient drugs, devices, or methods ordered by a health care provider with prescriptive authority for medical indications other than for contraceptive or abortion purposes. In these cases, however, a religiously affiliated or motivated employer may require the employee to first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the insurer along with evidence that the prescription is not for a purpose covered by the objection filed pursuant to subsection (b). An insurer may charge an administrative fee for handling claims under this subsection.

Section 6. No provision of this act shall be construed to authorize a religiously affiliated or motivated employer to obtain an employee’s protected health information or to violate Public Law 104-191, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or any federal regulations adopted pursuant to that act.

Section 7. The provisions of this act are severable. If any part of this act is declared invalid or unconstitutional, that declaration shall not affect the part which remains.

Section 8. This act shall become effective immediately following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.


Health Insurance
Religion
Employers
Contraceptives
Abortion
Business and Labor
Popular Names