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The Wagner Law Group

The Wagner Law Group is a nationally recognized practice in the areas of ERISA and employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor and human resources and investment management.


Established in 1996, The Wagner Law Group is dedicated to the highest standards of integrity, excellence and thought leadership and is considered to be amongst the nation's premier ERISA and employee benefits law firms. The firm has seven offices across the country, providing unparalleled legal advice to its clients, including large, small and nonprofit corporations as well as individuals and government entities worldwide. The Wagner Law Group's 29 attorneys, senior benefits consultant and four paralegals combine many years of experience in their fields of practice with a variety of backgrounds. Seven of the attorneys are AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell and six are Fellows of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, an invitation-only organization of nationally recognized employee benefits lawyers.  Seven of the firm's attorneys have been named to the prestigious Super Lawyers list for 2017, which highlights outstanding lawyers based on a rigorous selection process.




Contact Info

The Wagner Law Group


  Integrity | Excellence



Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110


Washington, D.C.

Tel: (202) 969-2800


Fax: (202) 969-2568

 800 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.

Suite 810

Washington, D.C. 20006



Tel: (847) 990-9034

Fax: (847) 557-1312

190 South LaSalle Street

Suite 2100

Chicago, IL 60603



Palm Beach Gardens 

Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7108 Fairway Drive
Suite 125
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418



Tel: (813) 603-2959

Fax: (813) 603-2961

101 East Kennedy Boulevard

Suite 2140
Tampa, FL  33602 


San Francisco

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 358-8300

300 Montgomery Street

Suite 600

San Francisco, CA 94104


St. Louis

Tel: (314) 236-0065

Fax: (314) 236-5743
25 W. Moody Avenue
St. Louis, MO  63119 








   New Agency Rules

Expand ACA's Contraceptive

Coverage Exceptions

October 12, 2017




The IRS, DOL and HHS have released two interim final rules that implement President Trump's executive order exempting certain employers from the ACA's contraceptive coverage mandate. The interim final rules identify the employers eligible for the exemption and the reasons they may claim the exemption.

Facts. Under the ACA's preventive services requirements, non-grandfathered employer-sponsored group health plans must provide participants and beneficiaries with contraceptive services at no out-of-pocket cost. Pursuant to this mandate, non-exempt (i.e., non-grandfathered) employer-sponsored group health plans must cover all FDA-approved contraception, which includes medications and devices that may act as abortifacients as well sterilization procedures.

Earlier this year, President Trump issued an executive order to provide an exemption from the ACA's contraceptive services mandate to a limited class of employers that objected to it because of sincerely-held religious beliefs. In the wake of this executive order, the Trump Administration directed the Agencies to promulgate rules to "address conscience-based objections to the [ACA's] preventive-care mandate."

Guidance. The interim final rules implement President Trump's executive order by providing certain nongovernmental employers with two grounds for claiming an exemption from the contraceptive services mandate. One interim final rule provides the exemption on the basis of sincerely-held religious beliefs and the other on sincerely-held moral convictions. While the exemption is available to both non-profit and for-profit employers, the "moral convictions" exemption may only be claimed by nonprofit employers and for-profit employers that are not publicly traded. The exemption is also available to private colleges and universities for their student health plans.

Both interim final rules explain that the exemption is only applicable to the extent of the employer's objection to the contraceptive services mandate. Thus, if an eligible employer has religious objections to contraceptives it believes are abortifacients, but not other types of contraceptives, the exemption would only apply to those abortifacients.  

The regulations state that the term, "contraceptive," generally includes contraceptives, sterilization, and related patient education and counseling.


To claim the exemption, an employer need not provide any specific notice to its employees or certification to the government. Instead, employers may notify plan participants and beneficiaries about the exemption with summary plan descriptions and summaries of material reductions that explain exactly what services are covered by their group health plan. The interim final rules each provide that eligible employers may begin claiming the exemption immediately. 


A draft copy of the interim final rule regarding the "religious beliefs" exemption is available at:


A draft copy of the interim final rule concerning the "moral conviction" exemption is available at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2017-21852.pdf






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This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal advice.  This material is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered advertising.