Download this document as a PDF. Are You Subsidizing Abortion Coverage?
Exchange Research Guidelines
Below are the 28 states and localities that include abortion in the state exchanges (other states have voted to opt-out of such coverage):
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Consumers shopping for plans on the ACA exchanges want to know if their plan covers abortion. This is very hard to decipher. Many plans do not specify on the website whether their benefits package include abortion.
To find out for yourself you can visit Healthcare.gov to find the plans or link to the state-run exchange. Explore the summary of benefits coverage for each plan offered in the state. Use the search tool to scan for the words “abortion” and “termination,” and also scroll through to the section at the end of each benefit list to review the list of additional excluded and covered benefits. Keep a record of whether abortion is a covered benefit, excluded or not mentioned at all. Ideally, print the relevant page of each plan for your records.
Once you have identified all the carriers operating on the exchange, and the status of the plans’ abortion coverage, calls should be made to the carrier companies. Ideally, a local resident should make the calls to inquire as to whether the plan includes abortion coverage.
A suggested script is below. The caller should take very careful notes of what the carrier says, and if possible, get the name of the person they are talking with.
Hi, I’m shopping for a healthcare plan and I was looking at your plan options on healthcare.gov. Can you tell me which of them include coverage for abortion? OR Can you tell me which of your plans don’t include abortion coverage?
Typically you will get a general answer – “its’ covered,” and you will want to try to dig a little more, “is it always covered, are there any exceptions?”
If they ask why you want to know, you should say whatever you are comfortable with. One suggestion is “I don’t want to be paying into the abortion pool.”
Try to write down whatever they tell you, as carefully as possible. Please try to get a name of who you speak with. Record your notes, including the time of the phone call.
When the project is complete please send a complete record back to us at March for Life at firstname.lastname@example.org identifying
1) How many plans are offered in the state?
2) Which and how many of those plans identify their abortion coverage policy online.
3) How many plans actually cover abortion (based on what you learned by calling).
4) What you learned from the carriers by making phone calls.
Here is an example of a summary of research for New Jersey:
Between January 22 and 23, 2014, we reviewed all the healthcare plans available for individuals shopping on the New Jersey Exchange. We examined the summary of benefits for each plan as made available on the internet. None of the 31 plans offered made any mention of abortion coverage, either as an excluded or covered benefit.
On January 23 we called the three insurance companies administering the plans: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Amerihealth and Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey and asked if abortion coverage was included. Blue Cross Blue Shield and Health Republic Insurance of NJ both said abortion was a covered benefit, so at the very least, 14 of the 31 plans cover elective abortion. The third carrier, Amerihealth, was a little squishier, saying abortion could be covered if it was pre-approved.