The state of Connecticut declared abortion an “essential health benefit” last week and, as a result, the procedure must be covered by the state’s health exchange under the Affordable Care Act. A state health panel voted unanimously to consider all abortions – not just abortions in cases of rape, incest, or to save the woman’s life – essential health benefits that must be covered by Connecticut’s insurance plans when the state’s health exchange goes into effect in 2014.
Jennifer Jaff, executive director of Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness and a member of the advisory committee that is setting up the insurance exchange, praised the decision, saying “this issue is favorably resolved for all women now in Connecticut. Stripping women of elective abortions is not a tenable option.” Victoria Vetri, Connecticut’s healthcare advocate, said that the decision is “a matter of health. We wanted to protect a woman’s right to choose.”
Private insurance plans in Connecticut already cover abortion for any reason, Vetri told Connecticut Mirror. Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans across the country will be required by 2014 to cover certain essential health benefits, as determined by each state individually. Businesses and individuals have the option of purchasing the state’s plan. The federal employees’ health plan does not include coverage for abortions.
ThinkProgress 6/11/12; Care2 6/11/12; The Connecticut Mirror 6/8/12