The Justice Department is looking into whether businesses can be sued under the Little’s law to protect their ability to offer affordable healthcare.
A federal lawsuit filed last week in New York claims that businesses are required to cover certain essential healthcare services, including prenatal care, birth control, prescription medications, and mammograms.
The lawsuit says that if a business fails to provide coverage, it’s liable for damages.
It’s also suing for punitive damages, and seeks an injunction requiring the Littles Act to be amended to make it more effective.
The Little’s Act passed in 1992 and requires most private employers to provide employees with insurance.
The law also requires businesses to provide certain preventive services, such as mammograms and birth control.
In 2011, the Supreme Court struck down the law as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The Department of Health and Human Services says that since the Little is Act went into effect, nearly 200,000 private employers have changed their health insurance plans to include coverage for maternity care.
The agency did not provide data on how many businesses have been able to do so, but said the number of businesses offering coverage to employees has been growing over time.
The Obama administration has said it has not yet finalized the definition of what constitutes essential health care, and that the department is looking for guidance from the American Hospital Association and other medical groups on the matter.