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Does your new health plan cover abortion? Good luck finding out.

Just posted to the homepage: my piece on elective abortion coverage on the health exchanges. I'll have more to say about this later, but for now, here's a preview:

On Sunday, the Obama administration’s self-imposed deadline for fixing passed, with seemingly decent results. For the past month, the administration had been consumed with that task. But in the meantime another serious problem seems to have escaped its attention: Federal and state health-care exchanges make it nearly impossible to tell whether their plans cover elective abortion. And in some states customers don’t even have the option to purchase abortion-free coverage.

Last month, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius was brought before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to be questioned about the failures of “If someone…has strongly held pro-life views, can you commit to us to make sure that the federal exchanges that offer that [abortion coverage] is clearly identified and so people can understand if they're going to buy a policy that has abortion coverage or not?” asked Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.). “I don’t know,” Sebelius answered. “I know exactly the issue you’re talking about. I will check and make sure that is clearly identifiable.”

That was November 1. It’s still nearly impossible to determine whether plans on the exchanges cover elective abortion. For example, on the New York State exchange—supposedly one of the best—the signup process is painless. You create a username and password, enter your legal name, address, Social Security number, and within moments you’re shopping for coverage. You can compare several plans at all levels of coverage (bronze, silver, gold, platinum). Monthly premiums are displayed first, followed by deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. You can explore a plan’s outpatient-services coverage, its prescription-drug coverage, mental-health services, lab tests, etc. You can even see its pediatric-vision coverage. But you can’t find out whether a plan covers elective abortion.

Read the rest right here.

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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I have had many health insurance policies in my long, pathetic career, and I have no idea how many, if any, contained abortion coverage. The two I need now (only in America) may or may not have it, but I rather expect at least one does. Being male, I doubt that I'll ever need it. But there are doubtless myriad things I'll never need in my coverage. I guess I have been covered for social diseases, but I don't know, and I never needed the coverage. I was glad I was covered for prostate cancer when I got it, but I had not checked in advance to see if I had it covered. Absent a family history of this or that disease, I find it hard to imagine anyone working his or her way through the fine print, disease by disease, to find out every last thing that he or she can now afford now to catch, acquire or otherwise be afflicted by. When we get into abortion coverage concerns, we are out of medicine and insurance and into politics and philosophy.


Fox news and Speaker? Boehner both reported falsely that ACA does not cover babies because one dope forgot to include the 18 month old in his application.. lets not start anymore false trails for Fox news. most insurance policies have had abortion coverage for twenty years or more depending on what medical reasons there were. .

Grant - bravo.  I don't know which award this piece would qualify for, but it ought to win something.

Congresswomen and -men know their abortions are covered.

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