Residents of the state of Rhode Island who enroll in any of 28 insurance plans offered in the Obamacare state exchange will be forced to pay abortions.
During a June 13 hearing before the House Finance Committee, Christine Ferguson, director of the health benefits exchange established under executive order by Governor Lincoln Chafee, confirmed this. She said that, of the 28 plans approved for inclusion in Chafee’s exchange, “all of those plans, to the best of my knowledge at this point, offer women’s reproductive services.”
Barth Bracy, the head of Rhode Island Right to Life, tells LifeNews, “That is coverage for elective abortion and thus will require a mandatory abortion fee under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”
“Section 1303(b)(2)(B) of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires health insurance carriers participating in the state exchange to collect from each enrollee in plans that provide coverage for elective abortion an additional payment that is used exclusively to pay for the elective abortions performed under the plan,” Bracy explains. “And if the premium for the plan is paid for by direct deposit from an employee’s pay, the employer will be required to make a separate deposit for the abortion fee.”
“This additional mandatory abortion fee is charged to all enrollees in the health plan “without regard to the enrollee’s age, sex, or family status,” whether they object to abortion or not,” he continues.
Furthermore, Section 1303(b)(3) of the PPACA requires that disclosure of abortion-coverage be made “only as part of the summary of benefits and coverage explanation, at the time of enrollment, of such coverage.” Bracy says the section goes on to say that “any advertising used by the issuer with respect to the plan, any information provided by the Exchange, and any other information specified by the Secretary shall provide information only with respect to the total amount of the combined payments for [the elective abortion services] and other services covered by the plan.”
“It is thus possible that many enrollees and employers may not even be aware of the purpose of the mandatory abortion fee,” the RIRTL director explains.
While Section 1334(a)(6) of the PPACA does require that “at least one” of the multi-state plans offered on the state exchange, under the federal Office of Personnel Management, will not provide coverage for elective abortion, this provides little choice to Rhode Islanders who wish to avail of the “advance premium tax credits” and “cost-sharing reduction subsidies” but refuse to pay a fee exclusively to be used for elective abortions, Bracy explained.
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“Under Chafee’s health benefits exchange, pro-life individuals and families will not be free to choose the health insurance plan that best suits their needs without paying a mandatory abortion fee and thereby seriously violating their conscience,” Bracy said.
The Rhode Island State Right to Life committee urges the General Assembly to protect pro-life citizens and families from discrimination on Chafee’s exchange.
“We request legislation requiring that for each exchange-plan that covers elective abortion, there must be a counterpart exchange-plan that does not cover elective abortion, and thus does not require a mandatory abortion fee, but is the same in all other respects. And, moreover, that the availability of this choice be clearly disclosed to plan enrollees,” Bracy concluded.
Correction: We changed the title of this piece to make it clear one plan will not cover abortions, but virtually every other one does.