Anti-abortion forces in 28 states are pressuring state lawmakers to pass legislation restricting private health insurance plans from covering abortion services. Currently, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, private insurance companies that participate in public exchanges are allowed to provide abortion coverage. However, women seeking abortion coverage must make two separation payments – the first for abortion coverage and the second for the remaining cost of coverage.
Adam Sonfield, a public policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute stated, “Every additional restriction is adding to the probability that insurance companies will throw up their hands and say, ‘This isn’t worth our time anymore.'” According to the Guttmacher Institute, “87% of typical employer-based insurance policies in 2002 covered medically necessary or appropriate abortions.”
Eight states – Virginia, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Utah have passed laws banning private health plans that participate in public health exchanges from covering abortions. Last week, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) added an amendment to a bill passed by the state’s general assembly that would prohibit private health insurance companies that participate in the state health exchange from covering abortions, except in cases of rape, incest, and when the woman’s life is endangered. The amendment would also ban women from using their own money to buy separate policy riders for abortion services.