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Concern Rises as Texas Judge Rules Out ACA Free Preventive Care Services

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The ruling states insurers and employers who run plans for employees will have a choice over whether and how to cover certain routine screenings, exams and tests.

Texas Federal District Judge Reed O’Connor vetoed last week against private insurers covering a number of preventative care services at no cost.

The ruling states insurers and employers who run plans for employees will have a choice over whether and how to cover certain routine screenings, exams and tests.

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers are required to cover these services with zero out-of-pocket costs.

The 2007 appointee of former President George W. Bush has issued multiple rulings against elements of the Affordable Care Act in the past, according to the HuffPost.

This more recent ruling, however, applies only to preventive services such as cancer, diabetes, HIV, and depression screenings, as well as preventive medications such as statins, immunizations and PreP for HIV and HPV.

It's possible these rulings could require $100 copayments for cancers like colorectal or cervical cancer screenings and could stop all coverage for PrEP.

According to the Post, one known reason behind O'Connor's ruling was that requirements to cover PrEP and HPV vaccines violate the religious beliefs of Christians — in turn violates the Religious Restoration Freedom Act.

Employers who also support the argument that these provisions violate religious principles said they condemn homosexuality and sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman.

However, it seems there is just as much support, if not much more, for these preventative care services, but whether this legislation could shake any grounds is uncertain just yet.

For example, passing this legislation would require agreement from the Republican House. It's unknown of their thoughts on the issue. The Biden administration is also set to appeal the ruling as well, and could prevent O’Connor’s order from taking effect until higher courts can rule on the dispute.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) expressed their concerns on this matter as a vast number of Americans benefit from services like the Affordable Care Act — more specifically, about 35 Million people as of 2022, according to HHS.

The organization claimed they are deeply concerned that this decision will create consumer confusion about the coverage and cost of important preventive services including screenings for cancer, diabetes, HIV, and depression, as well as for preventive medications.

BCBSMA is encouraging those benefiting from these services to continue seeking preventive care.

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