But employers large and small have an incentive to include contraceptive coverage on their plans, not least because it’s appears to be a long-term cost saver.

Use of contraceptives and publicly funded family-planning programs have been found to significantly reduce unintended pregnancies, according to a 2011 analysis on the HHS mandate from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health rights organization.

The analysis also found that insurance coverage of contraception improves its use and cited a 2000 survey from the National Business Group on Health that found employers who don’t offer contraceptive coverage spend 15 percent to 17 percent more due to the costs of pregnancy and reduced employee productivity. Even the government, which began offering contraceptive coverage to federal employees in 1998, saw no net increase in plan costs after adding the benefit, according to an Office of Personnel Management letter cited in the Guttmacher Institute report.

“It makes sense to provide these benefits,” Mendelson said. “It’s very inexpensive to provide contraceptive coverage. If you can improve the health of your population and if you can enable people to have more control over their health care, you’re better off.”