Dr. Jeanne Conry, immediate past president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said all the legal uncertainties make it difficult for gynecologists to work with patients and find the best treatment for them.
For example, physicians may encounter obstacles to fitting a woman with an IUD, a contraceptive device specifically targeted by the Hobby Lobby decision.
Conry gives the hypothetical example of a 34-year-old patient with diabetes and high blood pressure.
"I'm trying to select the best form of contraception for her; the absolute best thing would be an IUD," she said. "We now have such great IUDs, they have very low risks compared to a birth control pill and they work better. And we've now had an employer tell us how to treat a patient, and that employer shouldn't be interfering with that woman's health care."
Doctors who decide to place an IUD in a patient during routine care could end up in a red-tape tangle, thanks to the Hobby Lobby decision, she said.
"During a cervical cancer screen, we put an IUD in right then and there, and she walks out," Conry said. "I've just placed something that costs $600 to $800. She's going to get a bill for that. Even if I pull it out, she still has to pay for it if the company denies coverage."
To learn more about women's preventive services that are mandated by the Affordable Care Act, visit the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration.
SOURCES: Bob Doherty, senior vice president of governmental affairs and public policy, American College of Physicians, Philadelphia, Pa.; Ron Pollack, founding executive director, Families USA, Washington, D.C.; Eric Kniffin, attorney for Catholic Benefits Association; Jeanne Conry, M.D., Ph.D., immediate past president, America
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