Code of the District of Columbia

§ 31–3834.04. Religious exemption and accommodation.

(a)(1) An employer organized and operating as a nonprofit entity and referred to in section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, approved October 22, 1986 (100 Stat. 2740; 26 U.S.C. § 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii)), may be exempt from any requirement to cover contraceptive drugs, devices, products, and services under §§ 31-3834.01, 31-3834.02, and 31-3834.03.

(2) An employer claiming an exemption under this subsection shall provide its employees and prospective employees reasonable and timely notice of the exemption before enrollment with the group health plan, and the notice shall list the contraceptive drugs, devices, products, and services for which the employer does not provide coverage.

(3) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow for the exclusion of coverage for contraceptive drugs, devices, products, and service as prescribed by a provider, acting within his or her scope of practice, for reasons other than contraceptive purposes, such as decreasing the risk of ovarian cancer or eliminating symptoms of menopause, or for contraceptive drugs, devices, products, and services that are necessary to preserve the life or health of an enrollee.

(b)(1) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to require an employer to provide coverage for contraceptive drugs, devices, products, and services through its group health plan if the employer has provided to its group health insurance issuer a notice of request for accommodation, in a form and manner specified by the Mayor, and the insurer has certified that the employer meets the requirements of subsection (c) of this section.

(2) Beginning on January 1, 2019, and on a quarterly basis thereafter, a group health insurance issuer shall notify the Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking which employers have been granted an accommodation pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.

(3) An employer that receives an accommodation pursuant to subsection (c) of this section shall provide, through its group health plan, coverage for contraceptive drugs, devices, products, and services as prescribed and dispensed by a provider, acting within her or her scope of practice, for reasons other than contraceptive purposes, such as decreasing the risk of ovarian cancer or eliminating symptoms of menopause, and for contraceptive drugs, devices, products, and services that are necessary to preserve the life or health of an enrollee.

(c) A group health insurance issuer shall provide an employer with an accommodation to the requirements of § 31-3834.01, § 31-3834.02, or § 31-3834.03 upon receipt of a self-certification, in a form and manner specified by the Mayor, that the employer is:

(1) A nonprofit entity that holds itself out as a religious organization and objects to covering some or all of the contraceptive drugs, devices, products, or services on account of its sincerely held religious beliefs; or

(2) A closely-held for-profit entity; provided, that its highest governing body (such as its board of directors, board of trustees, or owners, if managed directly by its owners) has adopted a resolution or similar action establishing that it objects to covering some or all of the contraceptive drugs, devices, products, or services on account of the owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

(d) Upon receipt of a notice of request for accommodation that conforms to the requirements of subsection (c) of this section, a group health insurance issuer shall:

(1) Exclude contraceptive drugs, devices, products, or services coverage from the group health insurance coverage provided in connection with the employer's group health plan; and

(2) Provide separate payments for any contraceptive drugs, devices, products, or services required to be covered under § 31-3834.01, § 31-3834.02, or § 31-3834.03 without imposing any cost-sharing requirements or any other fee directly or indirectly on the employer, the group health plan, or plan participants or beneficiaries.

(e) For the purposes of this section, the term "closely-held for-profit entity" means an entity that:

(1) Is not a nonprofit entity;

(2) Has no publicly traded ownership interests of any class of common equity securities required to be registered under section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, approved June 6, 1934 (48 Stat. 892; 15 U.S.C. § 78l); and

(3) Has more than 50% of the value of its ownership interest owned directly or indirectly by 5 or fewer individuals, or has an ownership structure that is substantially similar thereto, as of the date of the entity's self-certification pursuant to subsection (c) of this section.


(Apr. 3, 2001, D.C. Law 13-254, § 5d; as added Mar. 28, 2018, D.C. Law 22-75, § 3(b), 65 DCR 1374; Oct. 30, 2018, D.C. Law 22-164, § 303(c), 65 DCR 9324.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 days) creation of this section, see § 3(b) of Defending Access to Women's Health Care Services Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2018 (D.C. Act 22-266, Feb. 21, 2018, 65 DCR 2119).