Thursday, November 14, 2013

ACA Lacking in Abortion Coverage Transparency

Finding out about abortion coverage on the exchanges or marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act is extremely difficult. In the 27 states that allow plans to cover elective abortion on the exchanges, it is almost impossible for consumers to identify whether or not the plan they are considering includes elective abortion.

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) released information about abortion coverage in a small subset of plans called Multi-State Plans (MSPs), which are unique because their contracts are negotiated with the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

There are over 150 MSPs sold by Blue Cross Blue Shield and available in 30 states and the District of Columbia. According to a letter from the Director of OPM all but two of these MSPs exclude abortion. The two that include elective abortion are sold in Alaska.

This information may be helpful to consumers searching for plans that exclude elective abortion since generally plans that have “Multi-State Plan” in their title will not include abortion, but consumers should be aware that not all Blue Cross Blue Shield plans will exclude abortion. They must look for “Multi-State Plan” in the title if they want to select a plan without abortion coverage.

As explained by Rep. Smith, there are still potentially thousands of plans being sold on Affordable Care Act exchanges that include elective abortion – contrary to the longstanding principles of the Hyde amendment

Furthermore, the exchanges fail to provide information about abortion coverage to consumers. The letter from OPM speaks to this issue stating that only the States and HHS can improve abortion coverage transparency.

Rep. Chris Smith calls on President Obama to direct HHS to be transparent about abortion coverage in Obamacare plans.

The “Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act,” (H.R. 3279) was introduced by Smith to require prominent, transparent disclosure of abortion coverage for each plan offered on an exchange. It also requires that the amount of the abortion surcharge be clearly identified for each plan that includes elective abortion.

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