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Restricting insurance coverage of abortion.

BACKGROUND: Compared with abortion issues that have grabbed significant media and public attention, state requirements governing private insurers' coverage of abortion have, by and large, remained below the radar screen. A handful of states prohibit private insurers from covering abortion services, except in cases of life endangerment; more extensive coverage may be purchased at an additional charge. Lawsuits challenging these restrictions have had mixed results: In 1986, a federal appeals court invalidated Rhode Island's requirement that private insurers exclude coverage of most abortions; in 1992, however, a federal district court upheld a similar Missouri statute. More often, states have banned abortion coverage in public employees' insurance policies or in other cases where public funds are used to insure employees. These policies range from prohibiting coverage for abortion services altogether to offering coverage only when necessary to preserve the woman's health and life or in cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormality.

HIGHLIGHTS:

* 5 states restrict insurance coverage of abortion in private insurance plans; 4 limit coverage to cases when the woman's life is endangered; 1 limits coverage to life endangerment, rape and incest. Additional abortion coverage is permitted only through purchase of an additional rider and payment of an additional premium.

* 12 states restrict abortion coverage in insurance plans for public employees.

* 3 of the states provide abortion coverage only when the woman's life is endangered.

* 6 of the states, in addition to offering coverage to save the woman's life, provide coverage to protect the woman's health or in cases of rape, incest or fetal abnormality.

* 2 of the states flatly prohibit any insurance coverage of abortion for public employees.

* 1 of the states only allows coverage of abortion in cases of life endangerment, rape and incest, if the coverage is purchased by the enrollee through an additional rider and at additional cost.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

For information on state legislative and policy activity click on Guttmacher's Monthly State Update and for state level information and data on reproductive health issues, click on Guttmacher's State Center. To see state specific abortion information click on State Facts About Abortion.

Kurth A et al., Reproductive and sexual health benefits in private health insurance plans in Washington State, Family Planning Perspectives, 2001, 33(4):153-160 & 179.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), Uneven & Unequal: Insurance Coverage and Reproductive Health Services, New York: AGI, 1994.
RESTRICTING INSURANCE COVERAGE OF ABORTION

 PRIVATE INSURANCE POLICIES

 Limited Limited to
 to Life Life, Rape
STATE Endangerment * and Incest *

Colorado
Idaho X
Illinois
Kentucky X
Massachusetts
Mississippi
Missouri X
Nebraska
North Dakota X
Ohio
Oklahoma X
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island (a)
South Carolina
Virginia
TOTAL 4 1

 INSURANCE POLICIES FOR
 PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

 Abortion Coverage Offered
 in Cases of:

STATE Life Health

Colorado
Idaho
Illinois X
Kentucky
Massachusetts X ([dagger]) X ([dagger])
Mississippi X
Missouri
Nebraska X ([double dagger])
North Dakota X
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania X
Rhode Island X
South Carolina X
Virginia X
TOTAL 9 1

 INSURANCE POLICIES FOR
 PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

 Abortion Coverage Offered
 in Cases of:

 Rape/
STATE Health Incest

Colorado
Idaho
Illinois
Kentucky
Massachusetts X ([dagger])
Mississippi X
Missouri
Nebraska
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania X
Rhode Island X
South Carolina X
Virginia X
TOTAL 1 5

 INSURANCE POLICIES FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

 Abortion
 Coverage Coverage in Cases of Life, Rape
 Never and Incest Allowed By Purchase
STATE Offered of Rider at an Additional Cost

Colorado X
Idaho
Illinois
Kentucky X
Massachusetts
Mississippi
Missouri
Nebraska
North Dakota
Ohio X
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Virginia
TOTAL 2 1

(a) Enforcement permanently enjoined by court order; policy not
in effect.

* Additional abortion coverage is available only at an additional
cost.

([dagger]) State specifically prohibits coverage of postviability
"partial-birth" abortions.

([double dagger]) The individual employee must bear the cost of
abortion coverage for other circumstances.
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Publication:State Policies in Brief (Series)
Article Type:Statistical table
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2009
Words:624
Previous Article:Requirements for ultrasound.
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