Obama Mandate to Cost Insurance Companies $2.8B, Raise Rates

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 10, 2012   |   8:09PM   |   Washington, DC

Putting the moral and religious liberties concerns aside for one moment when it comes to the very controversial revised mandate the Obama administration issued today requiring insurance companies to cover birth control and drugs that may cause abortions, a cost component is coming into play.

As Tom McClusky, a vice president at the Family Research Council, notes, insurance companies will pay into the billions for coverage and will pass that on to consumers.

As for the President’s insistence this saves money, Blue Cross’s unofficial estimate was that it would cost $2.8 billion for the contraceptive/sterilization/abortifacient coverage, and $13 billion for all preventive care services. It would not be a huge jump in an average $4000 premium plan, about $13.00, but the overall cost is large.

Our Administration person basically said that whether fully insured or self-insured that the insurer is not going to eat the cost of the free contraceptives, so everyone’s premiums will still rise and the costs a religious employer pays “Blue Cross” or another insurance provider will increase to pay the difference.

As President Obama liked to say during the Obamacare debate insurance companies will want to make their profit, so they’ll increase rates somewhere. The religious employer will be directly paying the insurance company probably at increased cost, to provide the free contraceptives to the employee.

How bad is this? Pro-abortion groups like abortion giant Planned Parenthood opposed the religious exemption but support the “compromise” because now there are no exceptions. President Obama doesn’t seek compromise but confusion.  He isn’t looking for common ground on religious concerns but burial ground for the First Amendment.

The Obama administration has revised its controversial mandate that had forced religious employers to pay for health insurance coverage that includes birth control and drugs like Plan B, the morning after pill, and ella that can cause abortions.

Responding to a firestorm of opposition from pro-life organizations, Catholics groups and even some Democrats, the Obama administration has revised the mandate in a way that pro-life advocates are saying is even worse. [related]

The revised Obama mandate will make religious groups contract with insurers to offer birth control and the potentially abortion-causing drugs to women at no cost. The revised mandate will have religious employers refer women to their insurance company for coverage that still violates their moral and religious beliefs. Under this plan, every insurance company will be obligated to provide coverage at no cost.

Essentially, religious groups will still be mandated to offer plans that cover both birth control and the ella abortion drug.

The new mandate has drawn opposition from pro-life groups and Catholic organizations and a “concerned” response from the Catholic bishops while Planned Parenthood and pro-abortion organizations are supportive.

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates have been taking verbal swings at Obama for imposing the mandate on religious employers, which is not popular in the latest public opinion poll and which even some Democrats oppose.

Congressman Steve Scalise has led a bipartisan letter with 154 co-signers calling on the Obama Administration to reverse its initial mandate forcing religious organizations to include drugs that can cause abortion and birth control in the health care plans of their employees.

Bishops across the country have spoken out against the initial mandate and are considering a lawsuit against it — with bishops in more than 164 locations across the United States issuing public statements against it or having letters opposing it printed in diocesan newspaper or read from the pulpit.

The mandate was so egregious that even the normally reliably liberal and pro-abortion USA Today condemned it in an editorial titled, “Contraception mandate violates religious freedom.”

The administration initially approved a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine suggesting that it force insurance companies to pay for birth control and drugs that can cause abortions under the Obamacare government-run health care program.

The IOM recommendation, opposed by pro-life groups, called for the Obama administration to require insurance programs to include birth control — such as the morning after pill or the ella drug that causes an abortion days after conception — in the section of drugs and services insurance plans must cover under “preventative care.” The companies will likely pass the added costs on to consumers, requiring them to pay for birth control and, in some instances, drug-induced abortions of unborn children in their earliest days.

The HHS accepted the IOM guidelines that “require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services” and those services include “FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling” — which include birth control drugs like Plan B and ella that can cause abortions. The Health and Human Services Department commissioned the report from the Institute, which advises the federal government and shut out pro-life groups in meetings leading up to the recommendations.