Ever since the roll out of the healthcare Exchanges at the beginning of October the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been a train wreck. Not only does the website not work, but pro-life Americans are unable to identify abortion-free plans on the Exchange.
Wednesday October 30, Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the implementation failures of the ACA. Representative John Shimkus (R-IL) pointed out to Secretary Sebelius that there is a lack of transparency regarding abortion coverage in the plans offered through the Exchanges.
He asked the Secretary to clearly identify abortion coverage in the plans. The Secretary said she would “check and make sure that, that is clearly identified.”
We need to hold her accountable to this statement.
This question about transparency also needs to be asked of the Exchange administrators in each state.
To date, 23 states have passed laws that prohibit most abortion coverage through the Exchanges: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.
In the other 27 states and the District of Columbia, at least one of the multi-state plans participating in the Exchanges must be abortion free. However, the secrecy clause in the ACA makes it nearly impossible to identify which plans include abortion and which don’t.
According to the secrecy clause, plans which include abortion may only reveal that they cover abortion in the “Summary of Benefits,” and only at the time of enrollment. Furthermore, materials published by the insurer or the Exchanges are not permitted to provide the monthly cost of the abortion premium—leaving insurance-Exchange participants in the dark about possible subsidization of abortion. Even worse, participants will not be allowed to opt-out of the abortion premium once they are enrolled.
Obviously, Exchange participants should be given the tools to enroll in an abortion-free plan.
CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE!
In order to assist pro-life Americans in identifying abortion-free plans, Americans United for Life has drafted a model letter that people can send to the director of the Exchange in their state. It can also be used as a script for a phone query. In the 27 states and the District of Columbia that allow plans that cover abortion to participate in the Exchanges, it is imperative that we demand transparency about abortion coverage.
If you contact the Exchange administrator in your state and get transparent information about abortion-free plans, please send that information to [email protected], so that we can share this information with others.