The NCBC has published guidelines for employers who do not qualify as “religious” employers and are directed by law, and under threat of crippling fines, to comply with the HHS mandate. The document, Options for Non-Exempt Employers Under PPACA, examines four different options for the non-exempt employer. Those options are:
1. Willingly Comply
2. Provide Morally, Non-Objectionable Insurance
3. Drop All Coverage
4. Temporarily Comply Under Protest
Willingly assenting to providing such coverage is not licit under Catholic moral teaching.
Providing morally non-objectionable insurance (if it could be found) would be moral, but probably not prudent, given the massive fines faced by employers.
Dropping all coverage will also result in high fines. Dropping coverage is also unjust treatment of employees. Depending on circumstances, this option could be moral.
Temporarily complying with the mandate while protesting, for example pursuing legal action, could also be moral. This temporary compliance must end when insurance exchanges become available in 2014. At that time, the employer would drop all coverage and pay the $2000 per employee per year fine.
The best option found by these bioethicists is still not very prudent; the business operator is not acting immorally or unjustly, except they are paying a huge fine to the government which should rightly be used for other things. For example, expanding your business or hiring new employees, if you are a private business. For example, providing food for poor people, if you are a soup kitchen.
There are no good choices for employers facing the HHS mandate.