A school operated by a religious group offers its students ahealth plan that doesn’t meet federal standards—in part because itdoes not cover most birth control expenses. The kicker is, theuniversity doesn’t object to Obamacare based on religious beliefs, but rather onpersonal choice.

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However, religious objections or not, students at Brigham YoungUniversity still may face fines at tax time for failing to acquirehealth insurance that meets minimum federal standards.

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It’s an odd situation, given the religion-based battles over birth controlrequirements in the Patient Protection and AffordableCare Act. One more example of the complexities of rolling out anplan to ensure every American has health insurance.

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The Washington Times reported that the university is sticking byits refusal to include most birth control expenses in its studenthealth coverage. It refused the offer of an extension to complywith the act; the extension ended Aug. 31, the Times reported, withno compliance action by BYU.

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Personal choice is simply not up for discussion in Salt LakeCity, said BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead. “That’s notsomething that we’re going to weigh in on and be involved in as anindividual choice.”

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Some students may qualify for exemptions from the fines, theTimes said, but most apparently will face fines if they stay withthe school’s coverage.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.