Students Who Opt Out of North Carolina Abortion-Insurance Mandate Pay The Same
by Steven Ertelt
August 17, 2010
Charlotte, NC (LifeNews.com) — The national controversy involving the discovery a pro-life student group made about students who attend public universities in North Carolina having to pay for abortions in a required health insurance plan has taken another turn. Students who opt out will apparently be required to pay the same premium amount.
Students for Life of America discovered the North Carolina Board of Governors will require all students enrolled in a University of North Carolina public institution, starting with the 2010-2011 school year, to have health insurance.
Students who do not already have private health insurance are required to buy a state selected policy from Pearce & Pearce, Inc — and it covers up to $500 toward elective abortions and has 80% PPO coverage for elective abortions.
Following SFLA’s national outcry, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors announced that they will allow students opposed to abortion to "opt-out" of paying for abortion coverage.
However, students at any of the 16 UNC campuses who opt out will still be required to pay the same premiums as those who do not.
UNC Vice President for Communications Joni Worthington told CNS News that the university-sponsored health insurance plan students have to obtain if they do not have their own will be differentiated into two distinct policies one for students who opt-out of the elective abortion benefit and another for students who do not.
CNS News asked Worthington why the UNC board chose a health care plan that includes abortion coverage. She said the goal was to provide better health care coverage for our students at a lower cost.
The University previously had hard-waiver student health insurance plans on 11 campuses and offered voluntary plans on another five campuses, she said.
Worthington confirmed the UNC system offered abortion coverage in previous health insurance plans.
All of these previous plans except the one at NC Central University included elective abortion coverage, she said. The new plan used the previous plans as a starting point.
Including elective coverage had no actuarial impact on the premium charged for the policy; neither will removing it, Worthington said.
Kristan Hawkins, the executive director of Students for Life of America — who exposed the new plan after obtaining information from local Students for Life and North Carolina Right to Life — still has concerns about potential federal funding in the insurance plan.
"The announcement by the UNC System shows the impact grassroots activism can have in effecting change. However, it is not a victory,’ she explained to LifeNews.com. "The UNC System is still considering abortion to be health care. Abortion is not health care neither for the pre-born child or his mother. Abortion should be removed from the UNC System completely."
She said the "significant" issue of using federal funds has yet to be addressed.
"Federal grant money is directed to accredited colleges and universities from U.S. taxpayers through the Federal Student Aid Program. Student eligibility for federal grants is determined by the difference in the students ability to pay and the total cost of attendance for the school. This amount equals the students eligibility for federal funds," she explained.
"As stated by the UNC System: the cost of their abortion health care plan, if the student chooses to keep abortion in their plan, is added to the students cost of attendance calculation. This in turn, increases the students need for federal funds," Hawkins said. "Because of this increase in need, additional federal funds could be directed to a student to help cover this increase in cost."
"This is using federal taxpayer money for abortion health care. This issue needs be addressed by the UNC Board of Governors," Hawkins added.
The quest could go further, based on SFLA’s uncovering of the situation and the details behind it, as the increased federal funding for students for college to help pay for abortion coverage in health care plans could violate the provisions of the Hyde amendment that prohibitions federal funding of abortions in some portions of the federal budget.
When it uncovered the abortion coverage, SFLA indicated earlier this week that the Pearce & Pearce policy costs students $744 per year or $375 per semester and the State of North Carolina will not be paying into the policy. Instead, students who are required to purchase the insurance will be required to pay the entire cost, unless they opt out, and part of the cost will go towards the payment of abortions for fellow students.
Related web sites:
North Carolina Board of Governors – https://www.northcarolina.edu/bog/members.htm
Students for Life of America – https://www.studentsforlife.org
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