GAO Report on Coverage Abortion in Obamacare

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                             

(202) 220-3066 
September 16, 2014

Statement by Kristen Day

Executive Director, Democrats For Life of America

“In some ways, this report brings good news, including the fact that a majority of states decided not to include unlimited abortion coverage. Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), five states restricted abortion coverage in insurance. A majority of health insurance companies and organizations, including the Republican National Committee, covered abortion. The debate on the ACA bought awareness to the number of plans covering abortion and increased demand and awareness of non-abortion covering plans.

Today, twenty-five states prohibit abortion coverage. Twenty-one states only allow coverage for abortion in limited circumstances. The remaining five, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Vermont and Hawaii allow and offer only plans that cover all abortion services. They will have to offer one non-abortion plan in 2017, but the fact that do not offer one now is deeply troubling.

However, there are other areas of concern, including the accounting and segregation of funds as required under Section 1301 of the ACA that were neither asked nor answered in this report. Each insurance carrier is required to submit details about its “process and methodology for meeting requirements” under this section to ensure that abortion funds are collected and remain segregated from other funds. Additionally, the law requires the state health insurance commission to have a plan in place to ensure that the practices are being followed.

The law also required that the insured be notified about the additional abortion fee and that a separate check be collected for the abortion funding. We do know from the report that there has been a violation in that plans are charging below the minimum fee for coverage of non-excepted abortion services.  We also note that several plans are not itemizing nor informing the insured of the abortion surcharge.

We strongly urge the Administration to notify conduct further guidance and outreach to ensure compliance with the law. We also would request a further review whether federal funds are being used for abortion services. The issue of segregation of funds, notice of abortion coverage to the insured and the minimum fee were key aspects of the law which insurers clearly need to bring into compliance.”

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